TITLE

Crude Calculus

AUTHOR(S)
Judis, John B.
PUB. DATE
May 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;5/19/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 19, p14
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The author calls for the continuation of the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq. The United States must decide whether or not to support an extension of the oil-for-food program in Iraq, which expires on June 3, 2003. conservatives have been strongly urging the administration of President George W. Bush to let the program die. The Bush administration would be wise to ignore their advice. The program, which has to be renewed twice per year, need not be extended indefinitely. But while working to create a legitimate government in Baghdad, the U.S. and Great Britain need the program to feed Iraqis and to answer to charges that they invaded Iraq to control its oil. And the program also serves a little-known but enormously important financial purpose: It prevents countries to whom Iraq owes money from tying up its oil revenues in lawsuits. President Saddam Hussein clearly took advantage of the program. If renewed, the program could continue to suffer from inefficiency and waste--but probably not from the kind of corruption and favoritism that characterized it under Saddam. And conservatives have not really advanced a plausible alternative to the program's existing networks for dispensing food aid. By letting the oil-for-food program handle oil sales for the next six months until the Iraqis are ready to take control of them, the United States could answer its critics while continuing to help the Iraqis rebuild their industry. What's more, if the United States extends oil-for-food, the American, British, and Iraqi administration in Baghdad could also avoid a financial imbroglio.
ACCESSION #
9720959

 

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