The Credibility Gap

The Democratic Leadership Council, the purportedly moderate wing of the Democratic Party which includes members such as Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and former President Bill Clinton, recently published an article that seemingly called for the resignation of United Nations Secretary General Koffi Annan due to his complicity in the Oil for Food scandal.

It is interesting that the DLC has weighed in on the Oil for Food debacle at this point in time. What took them so long to recognize the corruption in the UN? This story has been public knowledge for quite some time; the Wall Street Journal’s Claudia Rossett has been reporting on this story since February of 2004. Where was the DLC’s criticism of the United Nations prior to the presidential elections? No doubt John Kerry’s support for resolving problems though the United Nations had much to do with the DLC’s yearlong silence on this issue.

A day later, the DLC issued a clarification. It seems Kofi Annan shouldn’t be fired after all.

CORRECTION: the original sub-headline of this New Dem Daily mistakenly summarized the piece as calling for Kofi Annan’s resignation. Actually, in calling for the secretary general to “step aside,” we simply meant to convey that he should remove himself from any involvement in the oil-for-food investigation, and let Paul Volcker, a man of unquestioned integrity and ability, conduct it independently and publicly release his findings. We deeply regret this error.

The years of willful neglect, outright incompetence and possible criminal involvement in the Oil for Food program are not enough to demand Mr. Annan’s resignation. The DLC cannot ask Koffi Annan to step down despite his son’s involvement and the massive amount of money skimmed under his administration, currently estimated at over $22 billion. The corporate scandals of Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia Communications, and Gray Davis’s California combined can’t hold a candle to Oil for Food. In spite of this, all the DLC asks is that he “remove himself from any involvement in the oil-for-food investigation” . And they “deeply regret” the appearance of suggesting otherwise.

In this article, the DLC reveals the pervasive mindset of the Democratic Party; the United Nations, with just a little tweaking, can and should be the centerpiece in the fight against the threat of Islamofascism.

[O]ne of America’s most urgent foreign policy needs is to retool international organizations and traditional alliances to provide collective security against the global threat of jihadist terrorism. The United Nations can and should be a central part of this new collective security system, but only if the organization is systematically reformed to serve that purpose.

The reforms the DLC recommends to improve the collective security system are as follows: enlarge the UNSC to be more inclusive, amend the UN charter to properly define terrorism as acts against civilians, and “authorize military intervention as a last resort in the event of genocide and other large-scale killing, ethnic cleansing or serious violations of international humanitarian law which sovereign governments have proved powerless or unwilling to prevent.” This plan to revive the United Nations is meaningless as it does little to address the real problems: totalitarian governments have a say in the decisionmaking processes; rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism; a bloated bureaucracy with a statist mentality; a Security Council that is designed to obstruct the use of power to resolve security problems; the failure to recognize terrorism as a threat to civilization.

When the media alludes to moral values as being an important issue in American elections, they fail to recognize that moral values extend beyond religion, abortion or homosexual marriage. To many red-staters, contributing American taxpayer dollars to an organization that has repeatedly failed to protect those in their charge is immoral. Facilitating the deaths of those under their protection is immoral. Allowing rogue nations to sit on the Security Council, human rights and weapons proliferation committees is immoral. Turning your back on the pilfering of funds designed to feed and care for Iraq children is immoral. Pandering to nations and organizations that have benefited economically from the Oil for Food program is immoral. Allowing Saddam to rearm using these funds to finance his military, palaces and terrorists, all the while knowing that he has butchered and gassed his own people in the past and continues to do so, is immoral.

Interestingly enough, the DLC piece that asked Mr. Annan to “step aside” is titled The Price of Credibility. The DLC and the Democratic Party as a whole refuses to acknowledge the abject failures of the United Nations, and continues to place faith in the ability of this organization to provide for America’s security, fight terrorism and act as a sincere agent in promoting global peace and security, despite evidence to the contrary. The American public has witnessed the unseemly actions of the United Nations, and many view the activities of the U.N. as immoral. The Democratic Party continues to pander to the United Nations, and the price they pay is their own credibility and the perception as a party weak on national defense. For as long as the Democratic Party is perceived as weak on national defense during a time of war they will continue to lose elections on the national level. The Democratic Leadership Council is doing very little to change this image.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • Justin B says:

    Let me see if I understand this right… Red state folks might think that some archaic idea called “honesty” is a moral value.

    Again this is a sign of the left thinking “We are not getting our message across to these folks”, not we are getting our message across loud and clear and people just don’t like the message. We value transparency and honesty. We value accountability. And we don’t like folks that cheat, steal, and lie. I guess the democrats think that our moral values depend on as Bill Clinton would say “what our definition of ‘is’ is”. See, us unlearned hillbillie yokels in Red States may be stupid, but at least we are smart enough to tell a snake oil salesman when we see one. We may not be able to spell potato(e) ala Dan Quaile or pronounce “nuclear” ala W., but we don’t like being lied to and stolen from. Maybe they just don’t get that gay marriage or partial birth abortion are not the only things that we consider moral values issues.

    Kofi is either a crook or ineffective at overseeing the UN. The call for his resignation does not depend on which of these turns out to be the case as either is sufficient cause for him moving on. Why are the Democrats treating Kofi different from the way that they treated Ken Lay? Is there any difference at all? They did not ask Ken Lay to “step aside” for an investigation. They were ready to execute via firing squad, seize his assets, and then go after the assets of anyone that even knew him (except Teresa of course) without even having a trial. In this case they are saying, “Let’s hold off judgement on Kofi”.

    News flash for you… Ken Lay just used his ill-gotten gains to build nice houses outside of Houston. Kofi allowed a tyrant to murder people, embezel billions, and fund suicide bombers and WMD development. He let Saddam grant kickbacks under his watch. Regardless of whether he actually was on the take, the problems happened during his tenure and he is ultimately responsible either for being an active participant or for being an ineffective leader. Either way, he needs to go.

  • Enigma says:

    I’m not so sure that it matters if Annan goes. He is merely a symptom of a much larger problem. In fact, he
    himself was brought in to clean up after his predecessor. The UN has failed in its original mission: to ensure
    peace and stability through collective action. It has degenerated into a hive of tyrants, thugs, and other
    miscreants that is bent on subverting U.S. interests. I would certainly love to see Annon go. But I fear who
    might replace him. Bill Clinton perhaps?


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