Oct 11, 2004
The CIA report just released included a section on the Oil-for-Food program. Under this program, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was allowed to sell an agreed-upon amount of oil, with the money going to purchase such necessities as food and medicine.
The economic embargo placed on Iraq by the U.S. after the first Gulf war had placed the population of Iraq at great risk of starvation from lack of food and treated water and death from preventable diseases. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under five had already died. Humanitarian organizations estimated that 50 to 60% of the food consumed in Iraq was provided by Oil-for-Food after the program began in 1996.
Speaking after the report's release, one Congressman from Connecticut called Oil-for-Food a "thoroughly corrupt program." Another Congressman said this program showed the "full breadth of Saddam Hussein's corruption and manipulation of the U.N. Oil for Food program."
Hussein, corrupt? Undoubtedly! But during the whole period of the program, who benefitted the most? None other than six U.S. oil companies, including Chevron, Texaco, Exxon and Mobil. They were buying Iraqi oil at very low prices, then making a fat profit by selling the oil at much higher market prices.
In addition, the report revealed that Oscar Wyatt, an "independent" Texas oilman, was authorized to buy the largest amount of oil. Wyatt was known to have gained a profit of at least 12 million dollars for himself and another 10 million for his company.
It's true, the main beneficiaries of the Oil-for-Food program were not the Iraqi people – they were greedy U.S. oil companies.