Friday, April 30, 2004

Back in January 2003, I read Ron Chernow’s Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. What I found most profound about Rockefeller was the way he monopolized everything in the oil industry. Even those competitors who were not part of Standard Oil were shown to be so. The pervasiveness was stunning.

At the same time I was reading this account, the build-up to the enforcement of the Security Council resolutions against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was being debated. One issue being argued was the connection between Saddam and terrorism (often simplistically proxied as 9/11). My gut feeling was not the argument of the Left that a secular regime would never ally with theological extremists but the more common-sensical one of my enemies’ enemies are my friends. In this way, I could see a logical connection between Saddam and terrorism, and, by applying the lesson of pervasity from the Standard Oil example, I concluded that the secular/theological example was sophistry. All terrorists were connected. This position is not widely held. Heck, I don’t know if anyone other than myself even holds it.

In January 2004, documents in the recently freed Iraq exposed an oil voucher program in which Saddam dispensed vouchers that could be redeemed for barrels of Iraqi oil. Most notable on this list was the U.N. official and executive director in charge of the Oil-for-Food program, Benon Savan. In addition to the U.N. official, French, German and Russian politicians and business entities were included. At least, I found the reason for the opposition to the enforcement of the Security Council resolutions against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The has grown into a greater examination of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program which set-up in 1996 to help Iraq feed its people while the Hussein Regime was sanctioned by the international community for its actions in Kuwait. We have learned that Saddam was kicked back funds of $4 billion (estimate provided by the office of the U.N. Secretary general. Kofi Anan to you.) to $10 billion (provided by Claudia Rosset, the bulldog journalist on the case, and, surprise, she does not work for the liberal media complex.)

The kicker, no pun intended, is the number of trading companies established to facilitate the corruption of the program. Some were just shell companies. Others did not exist. Two firms doing business with Saddam through Oil-for-Food were linked to financier Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, now on the UN’s own watchlist of individuals "belonging to or associated with" al Qaeda.

Bingo! The common sense of enemies’ enemies and the unobvious lesson of Standard Oil pervasiveness are coming together to show the connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. And who thought John D. Rockefeller could have taught us anything about terrorism?

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