When conservatives die, their media obituaries always mention their "controversial" or "complex" histories. But lefty orbits are just hagiographies.
Now that Kofi Annan, the corrupt patron saint of the pro-Saddam left, has died, the media is filled with hagiographies of possibly one of the worst UN bosses of all time. (And that is really saying something.)
Typical of the bunch, "Kofi Annan: a kind statesman and a gifted diplomat - The Guardian".
How bad was Annan? Forget the Saddam stuff. (Though we'll return to it.) Let's talk about Rwanda.
KOFI ANNAN, the Secretary General of the United Nations, knew weeks in advance about plans for the genocide of the minority Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 but told UN military personnel in the country not to take any action, according to a press report to be published here today.
The article, in the New Yorker, alleges that the head of the UN forces in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, sent a message to the office of Mr Annan, then in charge of UN peacekeeping operations, on 11 January 1994 warning of the impending massacre. The General cited a Rwandan security official saying he had been ordered to prepare for the "extermination" of the Tutsis.
The genocide campaign, which left at least 500,000 Tutsis dead in Rwanda, began on 6 April 1994 and lasted for three months , uninterrupted by outside intervention.
There was no reaction to the claim yesterday from Mr Annan who was in Kenya on a 10-day tour of Africa. Mr Annan, from Ghana, became head of the UN at the beginning of 1997.
The timing of the accusation could hardly be more awkward as he is due in Rwanda itself later this week.
According to the report, by journalist Philip Gourevitch, Gen Dallaire was ordered not to intervene and to turn over what he had been told by the informant to the Hutu government of the late President Juvenal Habyarimana.
Here's a classic Gardiner piece on Annan.
Established in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the Oil-for-Food Program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein's regime, with the complicity of U.N. officials, to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam's dictatorship siphoned off billions of dollars from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq-all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.
Despite widespread criticism, Kofi Annan has never taken responsibility for a scandal that has irreparably damaged the U.N.'s reputation. A huge cloud remains over the U.N. Secretary General with regard to his meetings with senior officials from the Swiss Oil-for-Food contractor Cotecna, which employed his son Kojo from 1995 to 1997 and continued to pay him through 2004.
Questions also remain regarding Annan's appointment of German activist Achim Steiner as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) just months after Steiner helped award Annan $500,000.Steiner, whose four-year term of office began in June 2006, was part of a nine-member jury chaired by a senior U.N. official, which gave a cash gift to Annan last December. Annan's initial decision to accept such a huge prize (eventually given to charity), as well as his subsequent appointment of a man who had played a key role in the award of that money, gave the appearance of a major abuse of power. Both were extraordinary acts of political recklessness by the Secretary General and gave the impression that jobs at the world body may be traded for financial favors.
Here's a closing quote for Kofi Annan.""I think I can do business with Saddam."