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It turns out Saddam got most of his ill-gotten gains from smuggling oil to Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. And of course, the Bush administration knew all about it.

Sure, there were reasons not to stop the smuggling: Jordan was on the verge of collapse, we owed Turkey a favor, and it wasn't a big enough deal to blow up the Iraq-Syria pipeline.

Or was it? I can certainly make the case that without Saddam's $10.9 billion in smuggling revenue (compared to the "paltry" $1.7 billion from the oil-for-food scam), Saddam's regime might have collapsed on its own.

Much brouhaha has been generated over the UN oil-for-food scandal, in which it's conveniently forgotten by anti-UN pundits that Bush campaign contributors made out like bandits. Pun intended. But those indignant critics are silent when it turns out the US government's tacit contribution to Saddam's coffers dwarfs that of the hated, black helicopter wielding, world government headquartered in New York City (I'm talking about the UN, not Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.).

In any case, I predicted that the Bush administration wasn't making a big deal out of the scandal because a thorough investigation would turn up embarrassing information. The oil-for-food uproar served Bush's purpose: to undermine the legitimacy of the UN. Now I'm sure he wishes the scandal would quietly disappear.

Just like we found out that President Bush could have, but refused, to kill Zarqawi before he cut off Nick Berg's head and mounted an effective insurgency in Fallujah and elsewhere, we'll continue to find out more about our oil-rich administration's connections with Saddam.

Posted by American Pundit at December 13, 2004 6:54 AM