Blog Roundup #62

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Abu Aardvark: “Yesterday I skimmed through the final report of the Independent Commission investigating the UN’s Oil for Food Program. For 1000+ pages, it didn’t contain a lot of surprises – the Duelfer report on WMD already revealed a lot of this information, and press leaks have revealed a lot of the rest – but it did contain a lot of useful documentation and fascinating detail about the operation of the program for all its corruption, ineffectiveness, and contributions to strengthening Saddam’s domestic and foreign policy position, the Oil for Food Programme “reversed a serious and deteriorating food crisis” in Iraq. It saved a lot of people, especially the young and vulnerable.”

Paper Chase: “The UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) said Monday that final results of Afghanistan’s legislative polls will be announced on Wednesday [press release, PDF], and that fraud allegations will not call the results into question. The September 18 vote was the first opportunity for Afghans to elect members to its Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of parliament … A JEMB spokesman said Monday that “All complaints of the losing candidates have been dealt with carefully and very few have been accompanied with facts such as time and locations. We are confident that the legitimacy of the elections is intact.” A slow vote count and the fraud allegations have delayed the announcement of official results, originally scheduled for October 19. Reuters has more.”

Illmethinks: “This article by Stirling Newberry gives a great example of how the right wing (little “r”) closet dwellers love to stir up trouble and how they accomplish it: “The Republican Congress is on the oil for food which hunt.”

Daily Kos: “After their deep concern with the “oil for food” scandal, I am positive the Right Wing (Faux, et al.) will be all over this theft from the good people of Iraq: “An auditing board sponsored by the United Nations recommended yesterday that the United States repay as much as $208 million to the Iraqi government for contracting work in 2003 and 2004 assigned to Kellogg, Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary. The work was paid for with Iraqi oil proceeds, but the board said it was either carried out at inflated prices or done poorly.” This is the type of story that is unlikely to create trust for the United States in Iraq.”

Democracy Arsenal: “There’s an important debate underway on America Abroad about where the liberal internationalist consensus for humanitarian intervention stands after Iraq (see Anne-Marie Slaughter’s latest post for a partial summary). The gist is an argument over whether, as David Rieff claims, after Iraq, humanitarian intervention can no longer be distinguished from self-interested, imperialistic interventions done under the guise of promoting human rights and ousting despots. … Iraq has taught us key lessons that can and must guide future thinking on humanitarian intervention, mostly raising the bar for when we should intervene and how we need to do it. I list 10 of them: 2. While it Need Not Necessarily Derive from Any Single Source, Legitimacy is Essential – Anne-Marie Slaughter and Ivo Daalder illuminate how the US operation in Kosovo, though without UN imprimatur, had the effect of “pushing” international law to provide broader license for similar interventions, culminating in this Fall’s adoption of a UN “responsibility to protect” (a duty that, unaccountably, has not been invoked in Darfur).”

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