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Enron and the UN

I was wondering if anyone else noticed this.  Greg Scoblete (hat tip: Instapundit)  points out the very different treatment that the Enron and the UN Scandals have gotten in the NY Times:

Notice the care this New York Times editorial takes when treating Kofi Annan today, all hedged bets and mild condemnation. It's only Kojo, after all. Confined to those shifty Swiss. Not a big deal, besides the only people who care are the warmongers angry that Kofi wouldn't sign on to the Iraq war. Just do better next time.

In other words, par for the Kofi course.*

Now, Enron.  Hang 'em high! Trust no one. Spare no one. Cast the net wide! Wider! The root of all evil. Crush all Imperial CEOs. Ken Lay - why wait for the trial? Even named a disease after it.

They are different:  The UN scandals are much worse:

  • The UN is a far more important institution -- at the end of the day, Enron is just a pipeline company, and no one, except their hosed employees, really has missed it
  • The UN has overseen a far larger amount of corruption in $ terms.
  • Enron enriched some twits in Houston.  UN enriched a brutal dictator who used the money to cement his totalitarian power over his country
  • At least as far as I know, Enron employees were not guilty of mass rape.

Disclosure: When I was a first year associate at McKinsey & Co., I worked on a study team led by Jeff Skilling (it was at McKinsey that Skilling developped many of his ideas for the gas-trading business that catapulted him into a senior position at Enron).  I had great respect for Skilling's off-the-chart intelligence and ability to synthesize tons of detail.  If that causes the reader to be suspicious of Skilling's Congressional testimony , well, I will leave that to the reader's opinion and future court decisions.  Remember, though, that the I-was-too-dumb-to-know-what-was-going-on defense did not even work for Bernard Ebbers, and Skilling is a lot brighter than Ebbers.

Posted on March 30, 2005 at 09:00 AM | Permalink

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