Tuesday, January 24, 2006

# Posted 8:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

ABRAMOFF TO HEAD UP U.N. AFTER ANNAN'S DEPARTURE: Yes, I made that up. But really, it's hard to think of someone more qualified for the job. Consider this from today's post:
U.N. investigators have uncovered rampant waste, price inflation and suspicion that employees colluded with vendors in awarding contracts for a variety of peacekeeping programs, said a confidential report presented to several governments Monday.

Peacekeepers, for example, spent $10.4 million to lease a helicopter for use in East Timor that could have been secured for $1.6 million, and paid $2.4 million to buy seven aircraft hangars in Congo that were never used, the report said. An additional $65 million or more was spent for fuel that was not needed for missions in Sudan and Haiti, said the report, which called for an investigation into whether U.N. staff members improperly "colluded to award" one U.N. supplier an $85.9 million fuel contract for the Sudan mission.

The failure of U.N. managers to enforce basic standards has led to a "culture of impunity" in U.N. spending, according to the report. Together, it says that there are "strong" indications of fraud involving contracts whose value totaled about $193 million, nearly 20 percent of the $1 billion in U.N. business examined by the auditors.
Abramoff is big, big news because his scandal has partisan implications. But from a bird's eye view, what matters more? A lobbyist scamming his clients? Or the decay from within of the institution entrusted with restoring peace and stability to slaughterhouses such as Sudan, the Congo, and East Timor?

And while were on the subject of scandals, take a look at Jamie Kirchick's article about the utter superiority of the British when it comes to the art of self-incrimination. As Jamie rightly asks, why have no American politicians resigned after hiring an assassin to kill their gay lovers?
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