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  • The Scriptorium

    12/22/2005

    Kofi Annan Lashes Out at the Press, Riles Iraq in Year-End Appearance

    Filed under: — Jennifer Rast @ 5:20 pm

    Kofi Annan is having a hard time keeping it together as more scandals and bad press plague the U.N. He lashed out at reporters yesterday for daring to question his mishandling of the Oil for Food program, among other scandals. The best part of the article is one Iraqi official’s response to Kofi’s claim that he wished he could have prevented the Iraq war.

    It also has been a year that Mr. Annan’s top aides spent attempting to repair Turtle Bay’s relations with Washington in the aftermath of his remark that the Iraq war was illegal. Despite that, and at the same time that harrowing tales of Baathist atrocities were being heard at Saddam Hussein’s trial in Baghdad, Mr. Annan yesterday said the greatest misgiving he had in his tenure as secretary-general was that he wished the United Nations had “done everything that we could have done to avoid the war in Iraq” and its effects on Turtle Bay.

    The comment did not sit well with Iraqi officials. “If the United States and its allies had not removed Saddam Hussein, he would still be torturing us” rather than standing accused on trial, Iraq’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi, said when told by The New York Sun of Mr. Annan’s words.

    Citing a report last year by a high-level panel that Mr. Annan appointed to review “threats, challenges, and change,” Mr. al-Istrabadi also disputed the assertion that the Iraq war had reflected badly at the world body. “Referral to the Security Council with no action is worse than no referral at all,” he quoted from the high panel report, adding that Saddam had violated actionable council resolutions for 13 years before the Bush administration moved to enforce those resolutions.

    Equally amusing was this line of questioning.

    When asked by The New York Sun about the perception among U.N. staffers that there is double standard in firing two high officials while refusing to even address other, more serious, accusations against other officials, Mr. Annan said parts of the question were “libelous.” Speaking specifically about one man, former chief of staff Iqbal Riza, who has shredded reams of documents related to oil for food, Mr. Annan denied that his situation was comparable to that of President Nixon’s last days in office.

    It gets worse, so read it all. Poor Kofi. He just can’t understand why the media isn’t sticking to the program. Don’t they know they aren’t supposed to question the U.N.?

    One Response to “Kofi Annan Lashes Out at the Press, Riles Iraq in Year-End Appearance”

    1. Doc Says:

      This dodge has overtones of two separate evasion tactics. The first is to threaten the target with disgrace or a lawsuit, thus putting him in the position of defending himself from an unearned and frivolous attack.

      The second is to accuse the person of hypocrisy. This one you might be acquainted with: “Well, you drink, and alcohol is a drug, so what right do you have to talk about the evils of heroin?” You’ll be so busy explaining why drinking is okay that the accuser doesn’t have to worry about putting down his needle. Annan’s suggestion that the question was “libelous” is a veiled method of putting the attention on the questioner’s supposed wrongdoing…and Annan thus doesn’t have to put down his needle.

      Either way, evasion tactics like this mean never having to give a moment’s thought to questions of right and wrong.