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September 8, 2005
London Times: Annan Not Fit For UN Leadership

In a scathing editorial after the Volcker Report gained wide dissemination yesterday, the London Times tells its readers that the United Nations would do better under different leadership. Meanwhile, the London Telegraph reports that the current leadership defiantly vows to stay at Turtle Bay:

THE United Nations would be better off without Kofi Annan.

That seems an inevitable conclusion from reading the latest, most comprehensive report and most damning report into the corruption of the oil-for-food programme.

The report, by Paul Volcker, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, undermines the Secretary-Generals claim to either diplomatic or administrative competence. Before next weeks highly charged summit in New York, the UNs 60th anniversary, it greatly weakens his position. ...

The report says that Annans sins were those of omission not commission. It finds no smoking gun. ... But the omissions were enormous, allowing Saddam Hussein to manipulate the programme to try to buy influence, including influence with senior UN officials.

Even by the mild standards of the Volcker inquiry, the report does what the UN can't or won't do with Annan: hold him responsible for his poor performance and the widespread corruption that he has allowed to flourish. The corruption, in this case, reached up to top Annan aides like Benon Sevan and Alexander Yakovlev, but the General Assembly has not lifted a finger to either pressure Annan to resign, or to fire him for mismanagement, at the least.

Of course, it's not clear that the General Assembly could terminate Annan even if so inclined. Annan has the good fortune of leading a corrupt organization that comprises a large number of thoroughly corrupt dictatorships and kleptocracies. None of these appear eager to dispense with one so familiar and comfortable with their own methods of applying power. Annan sees this rather clearly, which is why he informed everyone that he would not soon leave the lucrative confines of Turtle Bay:

Kofi Annan faced savage criticism yesterday but vowed to stay in charge of the United Nations.

Mr Annan said that he took responsibility for the "deeply embarrassing" failings outlined in an independent inquiry into the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

The report, overseen by the former US federal reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, revealed serious shortcomings in its work, Mr Annan admitted. But he suggested that he could not be held personally responsible. ...

Mr Volcker argued that the secretary general had much to answer for.

"His behaviour is certainly not exonerated. There is a litany of deficiencies," he said, adding that the UN was guilty of both maladministration and corruption.

After that kind of report, an honorable man would have offered his resignation to the General Assembly and allowed them to at least consider holding him responsible for the sorry state of the organization. However, honor proves to be an elusive quality at the United Nations, whose staffers in refugee centers routinely exploit the victims under their care for sexual gratification and whose "peacekeepers" generally run at the first sign of violence. All of this, as well as the financial corruption and the propping up of genocidal tyrants, shows the lack of any honor at all in current UN management and in its mass membership.

If Annan does not step down after the Volcker report, perhaps an indictment from the American investigation might do it. My guess is that Annan will continue to demonstrate the lack of accountability and the nonexistence of checks and balances on power at Turtle Bay by his continued and defiant presence there.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 8, 2005 6:33 AM

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» Times UK: Annan Not Fit for UN Leadership from Opinion Times
Captain’s Quarters reports that the London Times finally understands the crookedness and incompetence of Kofi Annan’s leadership a UN Secretary General. Even by the mild standards of the Volcker [Oil-for-Food scandal] inquiry, the repor... [Read More]

Tracked on September 8, 2005 10:50 AM

» Turtle Bay Business As Usual from Hard Starboard
On the one hand.... The [Oily Food program] report, by Paul Volcker, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, undermines the Secretary-Generals claim to either diplomatic or administrative competence. Before next weeks highly charged summit i... [Read More]

Tracked on September 11, 2005 7:28 PM

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