In what’s unlikely to be a surprise even to casual observers of the United Nations, an internal audit conducted by the international organization has discovered corruption involving hundreds of millions of dollars regarding the disbursement of contracts for peacekeeping missions. The UN these days seems to be little more than an elaborate racketeering organization for wanna-be crooks and gangsters—too cowardly to participate in actual crime in their home countries, and thus taking advantage of the miserable and oppressed people entrusted into the organization’s care. This latest scandal is only rivaled by the Oil-for-Food heist of some years prior.
The results of this latest investigation are the latest fruit of the Volcker Commission, established in 2004 to investigate similar kickbacks and bribes disbursed under the ill-fated UN program in Iraq. The task force that uncovered the peacekeeping abuse had hired some of Volcker’s investigators, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, to his credit, has requested that the investigative body’s mandate be funded further. Unsurprisingly, developing nations are using parliamentary tactics to hold up the reauthorization process.
The details of this latest scandal surround Abdul Karim Masri—a procurement officer for the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo and a Syrian national (why a citizen of a terrorist sponsoring state is given such a prominent position at the United Nations has not yet entered into the conversation)—who has a long trail of corruption accusations behind him. The internal audit found an “extensive pattern of bribery” up to and including taking $10,000 from a boating company, diverting a contract to a friend, and getting contractors to paint his house and give him a discounted Mercedes. Your tax money at work!
None of this is to say that the mission of UN peacekeeping isn’t worthy; it’s the very worthiness of international conflict resolution that makes this latest episode of corruption so devastating. Yet once again it has been shown that the United Nations cannot be trusted with anything beyond providing political theater. Those serious about the notion of international peacekeeping could do worse than seriously to consider Max Boot’s proposal of using mercenaries for such missions. Unlike UN peacekeeping forces—which consist almost entirely of poorly trained and ill-equipped soldiers from third world countries whose governments offer them up to the UN in order to make a quick buck—mercenaries are expertly skilled warriors. Moreover, they have no pretensions about who they are or what they are fighting for—money, which they will earn only if the mission is completed successfully.
No doubt this story will garner the usual outcry from the international bureaucrats who feed off the teat of Western nations. These sorts of people swarm Washington and New York City with little to do, it seems, other than to attend think-tank functions and cocktail parties, and to undermine the United States. With this latest bout of bad news for the United Nations, it’s become increasingly difficult for the organization’s lonely defenders to explain why the body deserves American time or attention.