In the looking-glass world inhabited by socialists, liberals and United Nations’ diplomats, being responsible for the worst scandal and biggest ripoff in world history means that one is doing such a good job that it deserves a round of applause.

Over the past weeks, world leaders have been stumbling over themselves to be the first one on their continent to write glowing letters of support for Annan’s brilliant leadership as leader of the global body.

All this comes as no fewer than five congressional committees are investigating whether U.S. taxpayers provided funds to Saddam through the United Nations that are now being used to kill Americans.

Kofi’s son, Kojo, was among those caught with his hand in the Oil-For-Food cookie jar. Kofi maintained all along that he was unaware his son was receiving $30,000 a year for over five years after he ostensibly resigned from a Swiss-based company now under investigation for corruption and bribery.

Kojo was still drawing checks until Saddam was pulled out of his hole by U.S. forces.

Kofi’s reaction? “Naturally, I was very disappointed and surprised, yes.”

Yes, indeedy! Weren’t we all?

Annan says he had been working on the understanding that payments to Kojo from Cotecna Inspection S.A. stopped in 1998 “and I had not expected that the relationship continued.”

The “relationship” that “continued” – as Kofi describes it – went like this: Kojo got paid every month for five years in exchange for doing nothing under what Annan says was a “no-compete” clause.

The fact that his dad was U.N. secretary-general had nothing to do with it!

Shortly after the fall of Saddam’s regime, the U.N. Security Council voted to end the Oil-For-Food program and gave the U.N. Secretariat six months to tie up loose ends before handing over any outstanding import contracts to the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority.

With Saddam’s regime gone as a contracting party, the United Nations began a frenzied process of “renegotiating” billions in contracts, basically winnowing out the graft component that Oil-For-Food had previously approved.

These amounted to a staggering 25 percent of the total number of contracts that it had agreed to, under Saddam, to release funding for.

Last week, Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations called for Annan to resign, saying he was stonewalling efforts to find out where all the billions of dollars actually went.

Annan thought that was pretty funny. At a dinner later that week, to the laughter of his guests, Annan announced he had “resigned” (long pause) “himself to having a good time” – clearly a poke at Coleman’s call for him to step down.

That doesn’t mean Annan is without friends. The ever-faithful Jacques Chirac phoned him to say, as Chirac later told the press, “At a time when some voices whose underlying motives are open to question are trying to call into question the merits … of Mr. Kofi Annan, all of us in Europe, and indeed in Africa and Asia, consider it legitimate to express our gratitude and our friendship to the U.N. secretary-general.”

One would think so! During the Oil-For-Food program’s heyday, France was among Saddam’s most reliable apologists – and one of the largest recipients of Saddam’s kickback program.

Spain’s U.N. ambassador, Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo, called the investigation “unfair and unwarranted attacks” against Annan, who was an “inspiration to us all.”

The Third World voting bloc nicknamed the “Group of 77” all expressed their support for this great world leader.

This is the same Kofi Annan who adamantly opposed removing Saddam from power, calling it “illegal” and giving Saddam’s killing machine one more chance to eliminate anybody who knew too much.

Kofi Annan should step down because he is – at best – grossly incompetent, and at worst, the leader of one of the most successful criminal organizations the world has ever known. His elaborate bribe and kickback scheme clearly involved Annan’s handpicked manager of the program, Benon Sevan, who made millions in kickbacks and then abruptly retired.

Top government officials for permanent Security Council members France, Russia, China, and others are also implicated. Among the recipients of Oil-For-Food cash were the Palestinian terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Iranian Marxist terrorist group Mujahadeen Khalq.

Saddam used Oil-For-Food money to pay bounties to the families of Palestinian terrorists killed or wounded during terrorist attacks.

Annan’s resignation and the removal of his shield of diplomatic immunity is simple justice, but it won’t save the United Nations.

Neither will the U.N.’s effort to “reform” itself by enlarging the Security Council and adding extra veto powers to further obstruct U.S. interests on the world stage.

There isn’t anything left to save but an illusion.

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