Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Art of Corruption

Sun Tzu’s essay written in 500 B.C. The Art of War states:
II.2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.
II.3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.
A lesson should be taken from Sun Tzu with respect to long sieges that sap our internal will and yet play into the hands of our enemies. Arguably, 1991-2003 post-Gulf War I Iraq was a twelve year siege of an entire country, sanctioned by the US and the UN. As a deterrent to Saddam’s ambitions, the Twelve Year Siege accomplished little than to foster a corrupt sanction regime that rewarded black markets and profiteers. The result was twelve years of dampened resolve to eliminate Saddam---which cost the US billions of dollars, and made many Europeans wealthy with UN-sponsored kickbacks and bribes:
...the ties of Annan's own son, Kojo Annan, to the Switzerland-based firm, Cotecna, which from 1999 onward worked on contract for the U.N. monitoring the shipments of Oil-for-food supplies into Iraq. These were the same supplies sent in under terms of those tens of billions of dollars worth of U.N.-approved contracts in which the U.N. says it failed to notice Saddam Hussein's widespread arrangements to overpay contractors who then shipped overpriced goods to the impoverished people of Iraq and kicked back part of their profits to Saddam's regime.
Victory, in the UN lexicon, is containment, not elimination of a threat. Containment comes with its own bounty. There’s gold to be found in the sieges that the UN and EU espouse. Sun Tzu would probably conclude that the UN is not at war with terror, since it does not abide by the rules of warfare, and has no credible standing army; rather, the UN is a war profiteer, practicing the art of corruption.