Volcker asks U.S., allies to link U.N. budget to reform (David R. Sands, October 19, 2005, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The United States and its allies should threaten to cut the budget of the United Nations if it fails to end corruption and adopt badly needed reforms, the man who led the probe into the U.N. oil-for-food scandal said yesterday.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that he opposed a unilateral U.S. withholding of U.N. dues, but that a “de facto alliance” of nations demanding reform could cut through the world body’s “culture of inaction.”

The message, he said, should be: “Look, if the organization isn’t ready to reform itself, that has budgetary implications.” […]

“I absolutely agree it can’t be seen as just an American initiative,” [John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, ] told the Senate panel.

He said the U.N. summit last month on reform was “a good start,” but that the United States was pushing for more.

Mr. Bolton said U.S. officials fear the momentum for reform might be lost if changes are not in place before member states approve a new two-year budget in December. He said U.S. officials are considering requesting the world body to adopt a short-term budget through the first quarter of next year to keep the pressure on. […]

“As things stand, the U.N. has simply lost the credibility and the confidence in its administrative capacities necessary for it to meet large challenges that seem sure to arise in the future,” Mr. Volcker said.

The former Fed chairman also revealed his estimate for the amount of money Saddam was able to skim off the program, which was shut down in 2003. Saddam was ousted by U.S.-led forces that year.

Mr. Volcker said his investigators estimate that Iraq earned about $12.8 billion in illicit payments under the oil-for-food program: $10.2 billion in smuggled oil sales to Jordan, Turkey and Syria, and $2.6 billion from bribes, kickbacks and other related scams.

If those who supported the war are going to be blamed endlessly for the absence of WMD, shouldn’t those who opposed it be blamed for supporting Saddam financially?

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