Poland and the 2004 US Presidential Election
Comment by Jaroslaw Suplacz

While many issues may contribute to the outcome in the US Presidential election,
Jaroslav Suplacz of Poland Securities argues that the corruption scandal in Poland reverses the moral legitimacy that Poland's participation in the Coalition of the Willing conferred on the most contentious of Bush's foreign affairs policies, the invasion of Iraq. For more on this issue, in Polish, see Mr Suplacz's recent article, W irackim zwierciadle:Polonia zmienia Polsk? (po polska), on the Poland Securities web page.
Corruption in IraqPolish participation in the coalition has influenced moral assessment of the military intervention. Poland appears as a dependable and, importantly, as a noble ally. Poland is in Iraq for great reasons - the war on terrorism and stabilisation on The Near East. The history of Poland, and the fact that the present Pope, John Paul II, is Polish gives USA a stamp of a moral character of the intervention.
Nevertheless, reality does not match these appearances. Polish politicians make private business on the war. The corruption ranges to the highest authorities.
Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka was earlier the Chief of International Coordination Commitment in Iraq. As the chief of the commitment, he supported a choice of Bank Millennium (in which he was a member of the supervisory board) to the consortium that would menage the Trade Bank of Iraq. The Prime Minister inadvertently admitted he had known how the members of the tender commission voted - nevertheless, he was not a member of the commission.
Another matter relates to the public tender that decided about a contract on equipment for Iraq's army. The consortium that won the first tender was "Ostrowski Arms" - the firm that did not hold a license on the trade of weapons. The whole firm consists of a few individuals. What else is interesting about this firm? The owner and the chief of the firm was Andrzej Ostrowski - a good acquaintance of President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Mr. Ostrowski had issued a book about the schedule of the choice of F-16 to Polish army. It was only one book written by him . . . and President Kwasniewski wrote an introduction to this book. At present, Mr. Andrzej Ostrowski stands accused of trading in weapons without a license.
After a journalist's investigation regarding Ostrowski Arms, the public tender in Iraq was cancelled. What sort of tender bid was it in the first place? A firm without a license to trade weapons was one of the winners. A firm with only a few people on its staff, not well known . . . However, well known to Aleksander Kwasniewski.
To the extent that this corruption scandal is known to Americans, it will sully the whole war effort in Iraq. If the noble ally is dirtier than Bush's administration, it will be a catastrophe for his vision.
Both elements of this scandal require further attention: the way the consortium managing the Trade Bank of Iraq was chosen and the choice of the unknown firm without a license for weapons trade to the consortium that was expected to equip the Iraqi army.
This international corruption affair potentially ranges to the highest levels of Bush's administration as well as to the highest Polish authorities.


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Copyright 2004 Jaroslav Suplacz and Perspectives on World History and Current Events.