Oliver North

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ever since Sept.11, liberals in the United States and abroad have done their best to undermine the War on Terror by maligning the intentions of the Bush administration.

In a pattern reminiscent of how liberals sought to undermine Ronald Reagan's successful effort in the 1980s against communism, the far-left today is waging an ongoing smear campaign against President George W. Bush's bold actions on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, and elsewhere around the globe. From Howard Dean's suggestion that President Bush had advance knowledge of Sept. 11, to Massachusetts Sen. Teddy Kennedy's charge that the war was "cooked up" in Texas, to the outrageous claims by Hollywood leftists, liberals just can't accept that the world is a safer and better place without Saddam Hussein.

One of the benefits of a burgeoning democracy is that a free press has access to surviving records of Saddam Hussein's regime. A decade ago, the records of former Eastern Bloc regimes provided both a damning indictment of the human rights abuses that occurred under the communist leaders and the names of local collaborators.

The latest revelation to emerge from Iraq is provided by the Baghdad-based newspaper Al-Mada, which recently published the names of more than 200 individuals and organizations in over 40 countries who are alleged to have received oil payoffs from Saddam Hussein in exchange for their support. It could represent just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of showing how Saddam used his petroleum and cash to purchase friends and favors.

The list of recipients spans four continents and contains the names of prominent politicians as well as political parties, journalists and clergy from such countries as France, Libya, Syria, Indonesia and Russia, among others. Among the disclosures in Al-Mada:

The Bulgarian Socialist Party is reported to have received 12 million barrels of oil in 1998 -- worth about $250 million at the time -- as a "gift" from Saddam. Current Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, who headed the Socialist Party at the time, denied the charge, terming it "inappropriate black humor."

The Society for Austrian-Arab Relations was named as another beneficiary of Saddam's largess. The organization's executive director denied the charges, blaming it on a translation error. "We received neither gold watches nor money nor barrels of oil," he said.

The Communist Party of Slovakia is another alleged recipient of Iraqi oil "gifts," though the party's leader from 1992-1998, Vladimir Dado, denies it, saying, "It is absolutely false to say the Slovakian Communist Party supported the regime of Saddam Hussein."


Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.