After all the right-wing carping about the United Nations oil for food program, it now looks like the Bush administration was every bit as complicit in providing kickbacks to Saddam Hussein as any of the other nations that have been tarred by this scandal.
The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.
A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.
The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP, George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.
In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together.
"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales.
Kevin Drum sums it up well saying “None of this excuses the sordid behavior of UN officials in all this, but it does show that they were hardly acting alone. Every country on the Security Council played a part in this scandal, including us.”