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March 31, 2005

The U.N. Can't Add and Subtract

Captain's Quarters Blog has an interesting post today about the U.N. and its reports on starving children in Iraq.
CQ reader Marc Landers thinks he's discovered why the United Nations can't keep track of the money it gets, allowing so much of it to wind up in the pockets of its own managers, such as Benon Sevan, and tyrants like Saddam Hussein. It may not happen through maliciousness -- it might be that they just don't know how to dosimple math.

The post goes on to discuss a report by the BBC that says the rate of malnourished children has doubled from 4% to 8% since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

But here's the kicker, based on a UNICEF report:

So before the war -- "even before the conflict began" -- UNICEF reported that 25% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 were chronically malnourished, and that 12.5% of them died before even reaching the age of 5. Now that the war is over, only 8% of them are chronically malnourished, and the UN doesn't even talk about excess mortality in that age group any more. Somehow that gets transformed in Turtle Bay as "doubling", rather than "reducing by two-thirds".

Unbelievable. The trouble is, the U.N. has been getting away with this kind of lunacy for years! The Oil for Food scandal wasn't just a fluke. Inefficiency and unaccountability are a way of live in Turtle Bay and unless something drastic is done, ain't nothin' gonna change.

The best way to deal with it? Start at the top with Kofi Annan, and the rest of the dominoes will follow.

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