Scapegoating Kofi Annan?

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All of a sudden, some Republicans in Congress are in another one of their UN-bashing frenzies. This time, they're aiming straight to the top, hoping to take down one of the most distinguished UN Secretaries General the world has ever known.  There is currently a vigorous investigation going on looking into the Oil for Food program, led by the highly-respected Republican former Fed Chair Paul Volcker.  He and Ambassador John Danforth have both respectfully asked us to cool it and let the Volcker Committee do its work.  George Bush and Colin Powell have come out opposing calls for Annan to resign, and the State Department has talked about how cooperative Annan is being with the investigations.  It's time for this preemptive hate campaign against Annan and the UN to stop-let's let Paul Volcker do his job.

Despite assurances from the State Department that Annan is "a valued interlocutor" who has been working, "positively and cooperatively, in trying to get to the bottom of this oil-for-food program," (Washington Times, 12/2/04) several Republican Congressmen and a Senator have been calling for Annan's resignation and cuts in the UN's budget. They are many of the same members of Congress who have tried to slash the UN's budget in the past.
In the eyes of many within the organization and around the world, Kofi Annan is the best Secretary General the United Nations has ever had. He has brought a professionalism and seriousness of purpose to the organization.  By all accounts, he has improved the UN's bureaucracy and morale, and made it more effective in dealing with problems throughout the world.   

If wrongdoing was committed in this Oil for Food program, it needs to be properly investigated and the perpetrators punished.  This is why I am fully supportive of the Volcker investigation.  But for Members of Congress to start talking now about vindictive cuts and resignations is grossly premature and
irresponsible.  This sort of rush to judgment is not worthy of an institution of our stature.

Congressman José E. Serrano has represented the Bronx, New York, in Congress since 1990.  He is the only Member of Congress from New York City on the House Appropriations Committee and serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee that appropiates the United States' contributions to the United Nations."

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