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    Summary of Oil-for-food Program: Greed Hide Under Humanitarian 

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    Oil-for-food is a program between the United Nation and Iraq to allow Iraq selling its oil to get food and other basic needs. After Iraq invading Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s, the United Nation had been imposing economic sanctions on Iraq including the oil shipment. Years of sanctions had led to a serious shortage of food and medicine in Iraq. So as to alleviate the serious impact of this implement on the lives of the Iraqi people, the UN allowed Iraq to export oil for the import of basic needs for living with the Iraq government’s “effort”, and implement this resolution in December 1996.

    Tongsun Park, as a famous talker roaming in a secretive network of businessmen, Washington politicians and others who helped to ease UN sanctions, drove the speed of the implementation process by using over 2.5 million dollars to bribe senior UN officials. In 2003, several days before the US and British forces invaded Iraq, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stopped this program, ensured those nearly $10 billion goods finally reach Iraq and ended up this program at the end of that year. Eventually, the US or Britain did take down Saddam Hussein’s government and finished the war 8 years later. Back in the 1970s, the “koreagate” scandals, Park as a South Korean representor was trying to purchase influence in Congress by money. Not only seek power, but also he was pursuing an extravagant life. Although this scandal happened, the result showed positive for those Congressmen and him. Because of weak enforcement of laws and regulations by the international government, he only committed a tax-paying issue based on huge number of commissions which is not a big deal compared to the bribery. These things can prove that he is a greedy man with great socializing skills and has the ability to escape from allegations by his network, and they can be the reason why Park keeps his wrongdoing behavior during the oil-for-food program through weak effectiveness of anti-corruption laws.

    In the indictments of the oil-for-food program, 14 people including Benon Sevan, Ephraim Nadler, Tongsun Park and Vincent are on the list. Ephraim Nadler is former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s brother-in-law so it means he can perceive the opportunities as a close family member of the UN official to get the extra money and investment. Base on the fact, they were not transferring money through banking so it is going to be tough to find evidence. All the payments are through cash-filled envelopes, cash deliveries in diplomatic pouches, old bills stuffed into shopping bags or cardboard. Even though there is an investment in a Canadian company running by a senior U.N. official which we recorded, the company finally shut down and the money may either be held by Park or go to U.N. official’s pocket. It is really hard to detect whether they bribe someone or not because no evidence shows on paper. Meanwhile, a few unregistered middlemen as government representor who were related to the bribe made the investigation more difficult. Because of that, it made monitoring and winning convictions related to the oil-for-food program difficult. Things are always two-sided. When we saw that the park received a certain amount of financial support and then colluded with UN officials on behalf of the Iraqi government, this also promoted the progress of the project to some extent.

    However, it is unfair for those people who were suffering from war and food shortage. Millions of money flows into a few people’s pockets and it hurts the interests of the Iraqi people who will continue to starve. If this part of money is used for the purchase of food or the purchase of necessities, the life of the citizens may be better. Corruption, or I may say, benefiting and avoiding harm, mutual benefit and win-win situation, is a choice regardless of national borders, and normal people will make. This is the reason why corruption cannot be cured. However, eliminating corruption does not mean that you should condone and get used to corruption. Corruption infringes on the interests of others. In the long term, it is also harmful to both parties involved in corruption. Therefore, it is necessary and justified to pay attention to severely punishing corruption, not only the exchange of interests between officials and businessmen but also the unfair competition between business and business, as well as the official squad of collusion. Other people who are not on that high position may not play any big roles in it, but they should maintain a righteous paradox and views that despise and denounce corruption, instead of following the tide and defending corruption.

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