The U.S. senator leading the investigation into allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the Iraq oil-for-food program is urging U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to resign.
The "massive scope of this debacle demands nothing less," wrote Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota, in an opinion piece published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.
"The world will never be able to learn the full extent of the bribes, kickbacks and under-the-table payments that occurred under the U.N.'s collective nose while Annan is in charge."
Coleman said he was not accusing Kofi Annan of anything "other than incompetence and mismanagement."
Coleman said the investigation cannot be completed with Annan at the helm of the world body.
"The bottom line is, one man was in charge and if we're going to get to the bottom of this, he's got to step back so that we can have trust and credibility and transparency in sorting out what happened," he said Wednesday in an interview on CNN's "American Morning."
Ok, so obviously Coleman supports Bush. But change 'Annan' to 'Bush and 'oil for food' to 'Halliburton' or 'Iraqi reconstruction funds' and couldn't this have been written by a Democrat as a call for Bush to step aside? And doesn't Coleman see the inherent irony of calling for Annan's resignation for these reasons?Annan has appointed former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations. But Coleman, while calling Volcker a "good and honest man," said that the United Nations "simply cannot root out its own corruption while Mr. Annan is in charge."
"If we're to get to the bottom of this, if there's to be any credibility, the person that was at the helm during the course of this thing cannot be the guy that Paul Volcker reports to, cannot be the guy that we go asking for help and assistance in getting the people we need to talk to," Coleman told CNN. "He needs to step back, step down for the credibility of the organization itself."