An item on the Power Line blog leads us to an article in the Washington Times with the interesting information that a Swedish Foreign Ministry report into the Oil-for-Food scam has established that Norway’s ambassador to the UN, Ole Peter Kolby knew all about the shenanigans but preferred to keep silent “for fear of angering Iraq and big companies involved in the program”.
The report has now been broadcast on Swedish radio and written about in Aftenposten. The Norwegian radio interviewed Mr Kolby, who said that all he had was suspicions and rumours, not proof. Ought he not have followed some of the rumours up or asked someone else to do so? Apparently not.
“Henrik Thune of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs told Aftenposten that Kolby was caught between competing interests, including fear of fueling the push for war in the Bush administration if he revealed corruption in the Oil for Food program.
"In reality, Norway found itself in a hornets nest of large countries' politics, large companies' interests and the humanitarian situation in Iraq," Thune said. "I don't think Norway really had any freedom to act, and the criticism should be directed at the superpowers within the U.N. Security Council."”
Well, diddums. I trust people will remember this bit of whingeing when some of those small countries strut their amazing moral superiority, which does not prevent them from keeping very quiet, indeed, when a major financial scandal is going on.
And what are we to make of that little comment about Kolbe being afraid fuelling “the push for war in the Bush administration”? Clear as clear can be: it was all Bush’s fault. Some of us might think that Mr Kolbe betrayed the trust that had been placed in him by the Norwegian government but we would be wrong. It was all them, the big guys. They didn’t actually make him do it but he was afraid that they might use his comments as a justification.
So the scandal went on, the money was stolen, the people of Iraq suffered and Mr Kolbe glowed in his self-righteousness.