March 31, 2009, - 6:44 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
This is just one of the many reasons why the whole Bush tough-on-terror, Axis of Evil tough-talking stuff was just plain fiction.
As I noted on this site, for all of its tough talk against Iran, the Bush Administration increased trade with Iran 1800%, to just under $150 million from the paltry $8 million to which the Clinton Administration reduced it.
But now there’s this, which began under Clinton and spanned almost the entire Bush administration. Yup, WE–that’s us, America–financed Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese, and Cuban nuclear development.
Ostensibly, the program is supposed to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but if you believe that, I have some land in the Sahara desert to sell you. It’s kind of like buying a fat chick a pizza “to promote the positive dietary use of calories.”
This isn’t just another reason not to pay U.N. dues. Talk about DumbAssity:
Four countries designated by the U.S. as terrorism sponsors, including Iran and Syria, received $55 million from a U.S.-supported program promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, according to a report by Congress’s investigative arm.
Iran received more than $15 million from 1997 to 2007 under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Technical Cooperation program, according to the Government Accountability Office report set to be released Tuesday. An additional $14 million went to Syria, while Sudan and Cuba received more than $11 million each, it said.
The U.S. is the largest funder of the United Nations body’s program and provided $20 million in 2007, or about a quarter of the budget, the report said.
The Technical Cooperation program funds some projects with a direct connection to nuclear energy, but many other projects it funds have no such link. Recent examples include projects to improve livestock productivity and eradicate the tsetse fly in Africa.
The GAO said it was concerned that some of the projects could provide expertise useful both for peaceful purposes and for the development of nuclear-weapon capabilities. The U.S. Energy Department, which reviews these proposed projects for the State Department, examined 1,565 such proposals between 1998 and 2006 and found that 43 of them had some degree of proliferation risk. The IAEA approved 34 of them, the report found.
Iran says it is developing nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. fears it is seeking a nuclear weapon. Syria is under investigation for alleged covert nuclear activities, and U.S. officials have said a Syrian site bombed by Israel in 2007 was a nuclear facility.
U.S. oversight of the IAEA program is weak, the report said.
U.S. oversight of everything is weak. In fact, the phrase “U.S. oversight” is for all intents and purposes an oxymoron.
Officials at the State and Energy departments often know only the titles of proposed projects, it said. The State Department division dedicated to monitoring the program shrank in 2005 by two-thirds to five employees.
Meanwhile, the number of State Department employees assigned to promoting Palestinian statehood and other pan-Islamic causes is growing by leaps and bounds. Oh, and by the way, Bush Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham was too busy giving tours and details of our nuclear security to Iran and other such states.
A top IAEA official at the Technical Cooperation program told the GAO that the program aims to engage as many countries as possible and “there are no good countries and there are no bad countries,” the report said.
No good countries and no bad countries? HUH? We might as well just surrender now.
The IAEA also said confidentiality agreements often prevent it from providing details about the projects for which countries are seeking aid.
Well, then, that confidentiality should keep us from funding such U.N. programs. They don’t disclose, we shouldn’t finance.
And here’s the money shot:
The report recommends that Congress prohibit the State Department from funding projects in countries that sponsor terrorism, but the State Department opposes this. In a written response to the report, State officials said withholding U.S. money wouldn’t stop the programs from being funded and would discourage other countries from fulfilling their funding obligations.
WHAT THE HELL . . .? We shouldn’t stop funding terrorist nations’ nuclear ambitions because this would discourage other countries from paying their U.N. dues?! Is this not the very definition of INSANITY?????
The GAO earlier assessed the IAEA program in 1997, when it said the IAEA wasn’t doing enough to ensure it funded only peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Um, where the heck were National Security Advisors Sandy “Burglar” Berger, Condoleezza Condi Clueless Rice, and Frances Townsend on this? Blind, deaf, and dumb. And we continued the funding for over a decade. Sickening.
The new GAO report said some of the IAEA technical-cooperation funds go to countries that haven’t signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or to countries that haven’t signed safeguard agreements with the IAEA to ensure they aren’t developing nuclear weapons.
The report found that 17 countries and territories lacking safeguard agreements received nearly $7 million in 2007. The IAEA did halt future funding for some Technical Cooperation projects involving Iran in February 2007, after the U.N. sanctioned Iran for its nuclear activities.
How, exactly, is America even still in existence with such asinine, willling, and wanton enabling of our enemies? How, indeed.