Thursday, May 19, 2005


George Galloway, a member of Britain’s Parliament, spanked his Senate examiners pretty well a couple of days ago in an Iraq oil-scandal hearing. I’m not sure if he’s as innocent as he claims, but it was good theater and made an even better point: The United States should police itself better before going after possible scandals in Britain, France, Russia or anywhere else.

In terms of credibility the nation has become quite weak, and the oil-for-food hearings come off as a rather desperate attempt to keep justifying a war that can’t be justified, or possibly just to distract from its ongoing, revealing awfulness. Iraq may have been buying influence by giving oil rights to certain people, and Saddam Hussein and his Baathists may have been larding away kickbacks from those oil rights, but that doesn’t legitimize our invasion or occupation. It legitimizes hearings.

The weakness of our position, unfortunately, mostly because of the perception that we’re hypocrites, bullies and con men, delegitimizes them.

The oil-scandal hearings would be better off held internationally — at the United Nations, in other words, just as political bodies here investigate their own corruption through independent counsel and internal affairs offices.

If we’re going to be the world’s police officer, we shouldn’t be caught planting evidence.

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