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April 13, 2005
Annan Preaching Accountability?

Kofi Annan takes to the opinion pages of the New York Times today to preach accountability to Americans, a stunning and laughable assertion from the man who has led the United Nations to its nadir of credibility at least partially based on his own lack of accountability:

In Oslo this week, donor countries pledged $4.5 billion in aid to Sudan, but while I applaud the donors' generosity, promises alone are not enough.

Time is running out for the people of Sudan. We need pledges immediately converted into cash and more protection forces in Darfur to prevent yet more death and suffering. If we fail in Sudan, the consequences of our actions will haunt us for years to come.

After more than two million dead, four million uprooted, and 21 years of warfare, southern Sudan is at last on the threshold of peace. It is, of course, a volatile, fragile peace. Violence, disease and displacement are still daily realities in this desperately impoverished region, where one in four children die before the age of 5, nearly half of all children are malnourished, and only 5 out of 100 girls attend primary school.

Annan makes it sound as if the civil war came as a result of a famine, and that the deaths could not have been prevented. He has it backwards. The famine came as a result of the war, and the failure of Annan himself in designating the Darfur atrocities as a genocide -- which would have obligated him to act to stop it -- contributed to hundreds of thousands of those deaths. For Annan to use those figures as a scold against the Western nations that had all but demanded Annan to acknowledge the Darfur genocide is akin to Marshal Petain standing on the grounds of Bergen-Belsen in 1945 and demanding food aid to Jewish victims of a "famine".

Annan then talks about how the West should manage its money:

The billions pledged this week can help. But hungry people cannot eat pledges. Through long and bitter experience we've learned that donor pledges often remain unfulfilled. In Cambodia, Rwanda, Liberia and elsewhere, a large percentage of promised funds failed to materialize, and many lives were lost as a result.

For example, in 1992, donors pledged $880 million for Cambodian war rehabilitation; three years later, only $460 million had been delivered. Nearly a year after donors promised $1 billion to deal with the devastation caused by the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, less than 20 percent of the money had been delivered.

Hey, I'll go Annan one better. Annan set up a famine-relief program for Iraqis called Oil-For-Food, into which went at least $64 billion dollars. Somewhere between $10B and $21B of that money disappeared into the pockets of the genocidal dictator it was meant to bypass, meaning that up to a third of the money never made it to the starving people it intended to feed and heal. Millions more of the money went into the pockets of UN personnel, such as his own right-hand man, Benon Sevan, and his own son, Kojo Annan. Kofi never bothered to ensure that the program, the largest aid program he ran, was properly audited.

So where's Kofi's accountability for that?

But more than food aid is needed - we also need to hold the perpetrators of violence in Sudan accountable. The International Commission of Inquiry, which I appointed at the request of the United Nations Security Council, has amply documented the murder, mass rapes, abductions and other atrocities committed in Darfur, as have many others. We know what is happening in Darfur. The question is, why are we not doing more to put an end to it?

Coming from Kofi Annan, this amounts to an obscenity. Annan has stood by and watched as his staff has raped and pillaged in almost every peacekeeping venue they have served during his term and done absolutely nothing to stop it or punish those responsible. Just yesterday, the Washington Post ran an article from Peter Dennis, who spent time in UN camps, outlining the complete lack of response from Annan and Turtle Bay on its own atrocities:

I arrived in Sierra Leone as a legal aid worker in the summer of 2003, one year after the release of a damaging report on sexual abuse in U.N. refugee camps in West Africa. Although the report's description of widespread sexual abuse had prompted Secretary General Kofi Annan to issue a strongly worded "zero tolerance" policy, I found abuse of a sexual nature almost every day -- zero compliance with zero tolerance, as one investigator was to write. U.N. leaders had simply not expended any effort beyond lip service to carry out this zero tolerance policy.

In fact, abuse at these camps went beyond sexual violations: Injustices of one sort or another were perpetrated by U.N. missions or their affiliated nongovernmental organizations every day in the camps I visited. Corruption was the norm, in particular the embezzlement of food and funds by NGO officials, which often left camp resources dangerously inadequate. Utterly arbitrary judicial systems in the camps subjected refugees to violent physical punishment or months in prison for trivial offenses -- all at the whim of officials and in the absence of any sort of hearing. ...

After the 2002 report documented sexual abuse, Annan's steely resolve led to exactly zero criminal prosecutions of U.N. officials for sexual abuse. I expect little difference now that refugee camp conditions have returned to the headlines. As before, Annan has delivered vague statements but prosecuted no one. It appears that the status quo reigns and that those perpetrating all sorts of abuses in refugee camps may continue undisturbed. The United Nations is a vital institution that needs a housecleaning.

The last person to lecture the US, the West, and the world on accountability should be Kofi Annan. Had he any shred of honor, he long ago would have resigned his post in the face of the collapse of his credibility on this point alone. The editorial board of the New York Times should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this abomination on its pages, and its tacit endorsement of Annan as global scold should cement its reputation as a clueless, inept, and outrageously biased media outlet which has no further credibility to speak on international affairs. There may be more disgusting examples of hypocrisy and shameless propaganda in media -- the Times' Pulitzer for Walter Duranty's Stalin apologias come to mind -- but few reach this standard.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 13, 2005 7:15 AM

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» Annan scolds the West from
Captain Ed is on fire overa NY Times op-ed by Kofi Annan about Sudan. Read the whole thing, but here's a tasty sample from his conclusion: The last person to lecture the US, the West, and the world on accountability should be Kofi Annan. Had he any [Read More]

Tracked on April 13, 2005 9:43 AM

» Kofi Takes Moral High Ground from Ghahre Pascale
Kofi Annan challenges the West on its aid to Sudan and other African countries. [Read More]

Tracked on April 13, 2005 10:18 AM

» UNfathomable from Long Time Gone
The NY Times gives Kofi Annan a soapbox and he presumes to lecture us on Sudan. He who steadfastly refused to call what is happening there genocide and has stood idly by while Sudan-supported militias have murdered thousands for the crime of not being... [Read More]

Tracked on April 13, 2005 4:25 PM

» Ventriloquism from File it Under
Hi, I'm Kofi Annan. Watch me talk out of my ass. That article can be reprinted at The Onion. [Read More]

Tracked on April 13, 2005 4:28 PM

» Girls from Girls
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