Annan’s damage control
The Secretary-General of the United Nations has started the usual damage control operation on the eve of Volcker’s final report on the Oil for Food UN corruption scandal. He usually makes banal statements with the tone of dramatic revelations and this one is no exception:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday that Iraq has become an even greater “center for terrorist activities” than Afghanistan under the Taliban.
The United Nations headquarters in Baghdad was bombed by militants on Aug. 19, 2003, and 22 people died, including the top U.N. envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The U.N.’s international staff withdrew from Iraq in October 2003 following a second attack on its offices in Baghdad and a spate of attacks on humanitarian workers. A small staff has gradually been allowed to return since August 2004.
Annan did not refer directly to the bombing [following which he should have resigned, ed.], but expressed concern about terrorism in Iraq. “One used to be worried about Afghanistan being the center of terrorist activities. My sense is that Iraq has become a major problem and in fact is worse than Afghanistan,” he said.
Trying to deflect criticism with platitudes will not help this time:
In a BBC interview, Mr Annan said no-one had emerged from dealing with Iraq "entirely covered in glory".
This must be the understatement of the year.
But he said many aspects of the scheme had lain outside his area of authority.
Sure, he must have been at home sick that day.
"I suspect that there will be lots of criticism,"