Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Kofi Annan Resignation Watch Day 2
Written by: Beck

The editors of National Review have (surprise) thrown their weight behind the movement to pressure Kofi Annan into resigning his post as Secretary General of the United Nations. The cover story for the December 13 edition of National Review is currently available online.
This has been a wretched year for Kofi Annan. The U.N. secretary general has looked a forlorn figure on the world stage: Hugely overshadowed as a global leader by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, he has appeared weak and clueless in confronting major problems, including terrorism, WMD proliferation in Iran and elsewhere, and genocide in Sudan. At the same time, the massive scandal over the U.N.'s administration of the Iraq Oil for Food program has brought the world body's reputation to an all-time low. To cap it all, in the wake of a series of internal scandals, the U.N.'s own employee union has just passed a vote of no confidence in the U.N.'s senior management: a thinly veiled protest against Annan himself.
Meanwhile, The Washington Times reports that US Rep. Roger Wicker of Mississippi has introduced a resolution in the House calling for Annan to resign.
"The oil-for-food program is a scandal of enormous proportions, and it may reach into the highest levels of leadership at the U.N.," said Rep. Roger Wicker, the Mississippi Republican who introduced a resolution yesterday calling for Mr. Annan to resign.

"I don't think we'll get all the facts as long as Mr. Annan is remaining at the helm," Mr. Wicker said.

Nineteen Republicans and one Democrat -- Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi -- had signed the resolution, as of late yesterday. [NRO reports that this number is up to 52 Representatives--see NRO article linked below]
Meanwhile, Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona has introduced a bill which would tie UN funding to cooperation with Congressional investigations (there are currently 5 ongoing) into the Oil-for-Food scandal.
Under Mr. Flake's bill, which has 77 co-sponsors, Congress would withhold 10 percent of its U.N. funding in fiscal 2005 and 20 percent in fiscal 2006, until President Bush certifies that the United Nations has agreed to certain standards laid out in the bill. The bill calls for full disclosure of documents related to the oil-for-food program, asks U.N. officials to waive diplomatic immunity, and asks any U.N. official who benefited from the program to reimburse the full amount that was improperly received.

Mr. Flake's bill did not call for Mr. Annan's ouster because he fears that would garner all the attention and that deeper problems at the United Nations would be ignored. But other Republicans supporting Mr. Flake's bill also called for Mr. Annan to leave.
A second article from the NRO editors argues that Annan's guilt or innocence of involvement in the Oil-For-Food scandal is beside the point; rather, his years of mismanagement are sufficient grounds alone to justify a call for his ouster.
Annan's defenders proclaim that he should be considered innocent until proven guilty. But this courtroom standard is inappropriate. The question of Annan's criminal culpability is beside the point. He is guilty of mismanagement on a world-shaking scale, presiding over history's greatest corruption scandal. No one can deny that Benon Sevan, the man Annan appointed to head the Iraq program, received a voucher from Saddam for 13 million barrels of oil. Why, even the New York Times dubs this transaction "worrisome." Annan and U.N. officials have repeatedly deceived the public about the extent and nature of Kojo Annan's relationship with Cotecna — whether because, primarily, Kofi or Kojo is a liar is yet to be determined. Annan lacks the credibility to lead a world body that badly needs reforming.

So long as we're going to have the U.N., it should at the very least avoid enriching dictators in large-scale corruption schemes. Kofi Annan has failed at even this minimal responsibility.
Jonah Goldberg at The Corner, a long-time UN critic, states his position thus:
Countless liberals have imbued the UN with a glowing moral stature that has never existed. Because they want the UN to be great, they often lapse into believing the UN is great. A classic case of confusing ought and is. Meanwhile, people like me see the UN as a flawed institution which relentlessly exploits this misperception. But, because UN-lovers have so skewed the debate, it is almost impossible to persuade the unpersuaded that the UN sucks unless you speak in "responsible" terms. Saying US out of the UN, UN out of the US in "sophisticated" company is seen as no less antediluvian than fretting about fluoridated water sapping our precious bodily fluids. And, since it's not going anywhere (sigh) one must fight for the changes one can. Holding Kofi accountable for that hothouse of sanctimony and quasi-legalized corruption seems like a nice place to start. I know a lot of liberals who loathe, say, Fox News but who constantly use the same language -- "losing it's credibility" etc -- that the Republicans Confessore dislikes are using about the UN. Should liberals who think the world would be better off without Fox News be considered inconsistent hypocrites for sounding like they actually care about Fox's credibility?
With all this pressure to step aside, what, you ask, is Kofi Annan's response? Why I'm glad you asked! Kofi's position is that his departure from the Untied Nations will take the form of kicking and/or screaming. He has no intention of leaving of his own volition.
"I have quite a lot of work to do and I'm carrying on with my work," Annan told reporters inside the U.N. Secretariat Building. "We have a major agenda next year and the year ahead, trying to reform this organization, so we'll carry on."

Asked if that means he definitely won't resign, Annan responded, "I think you heard my answer."
Yeah, Kofi, we heard you alright. What we're curious to learn is whether you've heard us.

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