Lurking beneath the headlines about the much-touted oil-for-food scandal (that, helpfully for the right, involves the U.N., a British leftist, some French guy, and lots of "top Kremlin operatives") is another Saddam-related scandal that, less helpfully, entangles a Houston oil company and Chilean cluster bombs.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Senate investigators have uncovered a complicated three-corner relationship that was worked out during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s between the Baathist government in Iraq, a Chilean arms dealer named Carlos Cardoen, and BayOil owner David Chalmers, Jr. Chalmers purchased oil from Iraq and sent part of the money to Cardoen to pay for cluster bombs, which were then sent to Iraq.

A middleman in this arrangement, an Italian-Chilean named Augusto Giangrandi, was later selected by Saddam as a customer under the oil-for-food program set up after the first Gulf War. Giangrandi's oil company, Italtech. then passed on most of the Iraqi oil it purchased to Chalmers's BayOil. In effect, it looks like Italtech "laundered" Iraqi oil, insulating the American oil company from direct connections to Saddam Hussein.

BayOil also purchased Iraqi oil from other Saddam customers, including Russian politicians. As part of the arrangement, BayOil paid at least $37 million in illegal kickbacks to the Iraqi regime.

Of course, all this was uncovered, the Chronicle points out, by Democratic investigators; Republicans, currently occupied with grilling George Galloway, are "still reviewing" the information.