From  Cox and Forkum:

From The Wall Street Journal: Iraq Amnesia.

[Saddam] instituted an epic bribery scheme aimed primarily at three of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, with the intent of having them help lift those sanctions.
“Saddam personally approved and removed all names of voucher recipients,” under the Oil for Food program, Mr. Duelfer writes. Alleged beneficiaries of such bribes include individuals in China, as well as some with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac.

As Congressmen Chris Shays’s House International Relations Committee heard in testimony on Tuesday, France, Russia and China did in fact work hard to help Saddam skirt and escape sanctions. One Iraqi intelligence report uncovered by Mr. Duelfer says that a French politician assured Saddam in a letter that France would use its U.N. veto against any U.S. effort to attack Iraq — as indeed France later threatened to do. […]

…Even if one accepts the desirability of some kind of “global test” before America acts militarily, U.N. Security Council approval can’t be it. There was never any chance that this “coalition of the bribed” was going to explicitly endorse regime change, or the presumed alternative of another 12 years of economic sanctions. “Politically,” writes Mr. Duelfer, “the Iraqis were losing their stigma” by 2001.

From WSJ’s James Taranto: Duelfer Damns U.N.

If President Bush had decided not to liberate Iraq without yet another U.N. resolution, it seems clear that Saddam’s coalition of the bribed would have continued to balk. The Iraqi people would have continued suffering under dictatorship or sanctions, while Saddam bluffed the world by pretending to have weapons of mass destruction.
Had the sanctions been lifted, Saddam likely would have acquired such weapons for real. Given that he had used them in the past, against both Iranians and Iraqi Kurds, there’s no assurance he would have employed them only as a “deterrent”–or that he would not have given them to terrorists.

As it is, Saddam is in prison, and Iraq is disarmed and moving toward democracy. Can there be any doubt that America is safer–or that it would imperil both America and the world if a president were to subject U.S. national security to a “global test”?

And from NRO’s Claudia Rosett: Saddam’s Sugar Daddy. (Via Little Green Footballs)

Saddam followed a deliberate strategy of using bribes in such forms as contracts for cheap oil via the U.N. program, or outright gifts of vouchers for oil pumped under U.N. supervision, to gain political influence abroad. He grossly violated U.N. rules, with illicit trade agreements, oil smuggling, and arms deals (conventional, but still deadly) — and the U.N. did not stop him. By 2001, Saddam was able to thwart many of the constraints sanctions were meant to impose on his regime. His strategy, notes the Duelfer report, succeeded “to the point where sitting members of the Security Council were actively violating resolutions passed by the Security Council.”
But no one has ever heard these facts from the U.N. itself, certainly not from such prime violators as France, Russia, and Syria — nor from the man most directly responsible for protecting the honor of the institution, Secretary-General Annan. Instead, Annan has to this day refused even to disclose to the public such basic details as the names of Saddam’s contractors or the terms of their deals.

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