September 08, 2003

The U.N. in Iraq

A friend of mine who *is* a journalist told me one day
recently to study the photos on the front pages,
remarking: "Sometimes that's the only way they can
really editorialize." Indeed, the photo of the
_resident during his speechlet (15 minutes?) on
Sunday, selected for the SeeNotNews (CNN) web site,
reveal a scared man, perhaps a guilty man, perhaps an
unstable man, BUT certainly a scared man.
I do not think Poppy (GHWB) would have gone into Iraq
without our NATO allies and the UN Security Council.
Poppy lost the 1992 election, or so "conventional
wisdom" (i.e. *convenient hearsay*) goes, because of
raising taxes. The other major second-guess on Poppy
is that he shouldn't have stopped short of Baghdad.
BUT, of course, the truth is quite different. Poppy
was right to raise taxes. Poppy was right to stop
short of Baghdad.
Ironically, the _resident will also be limited to one
term (if there is an election in 2004) BECAUSE he did
the exact opposite: the _resident's whole political
philosophy can be summed up in the following formula:
"kick ass, and cut taxes." Well, he did both. In the
course of doing so, he seriously damaged our economic
future and our national security.
Has even one blow-dry anchors or propapunditgandists
pointed us, since Sunday, that the Bush cabal is now
going hat in hand to the UN, which its neo-con wet
dreamers ridicules as "irrelevant" and wished away,
and to the powerful allies Rumsfeld ridicules as "Old
Europe"? Here is some real news analysis -- from the
free world...

The U.N. in Iraq
Le Monde Editorial
Le Monde

Saturday 06 September 2003

The UN General Secretary is too diplomatic to
openly show his feelings. If the matter were not so
serious, however, if it weren't a question of the fate
of a country, Iraq, Kofi Annan would be tempted to
display a bit of satisfaction. Because the United
States' return before the Security Council marks an
acknowledgement of that which the Bush Administration
meant to fiercely reject: the U.N.'s preeminence when
it comes to embodying international legitimacy.

That's what's in play: a point of law, something
very political also. Under the pressure of Iraqi
chaos, of a series of murderous attacks, the American
government is doing what it swore not to do: it's
presenting a resolution proposal designed to increase
the United Nations' political role in Baghdad.

Not so long ago, the White House was proclaiming
loud and clear that however "vital" it might be, the
U.N.'s role in Iraq had to be limited to humanitarian
matters. The United States, it was decreed, had no
need of the U.N.'s imprimatur to legitimate their Iraq
operation. Quite the contrary: some people in the
neo-conservative constellation, made this political
marginalization of the U.N. one of the key elements of
the new American diplomatic-strategic doctrine.

Only the failure of the post-war- which the
Pentagon wanted to manage alone, to the detriment of
the State Department- is such that the White House has
had to abandon its contemptuous posture with regard to
the U.N. We know the reasons. The occupation of Iraq
has proved to be more onerous than foreseen. It
requires more men and more money. One of the
Democratic Party's potential candidates to face Mr.
Bush in 2004, Senator John Kerry, observes: "The
United States pay 95 % of the costs, supply 95 % of
the men, and take 95 % of the losses." Unsustainable
in the short term for Mr. Bush, politically and
financially. He must "multilateralize" the operation.
He had to ask for more support than that forthcoming
from his coalition of the willing. And, for that, so
that the big countries such as India, Pakistan,
Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, and Jordan agree to supply
troops, and that a number of European countries
provide financial assistance, one condition must be
met: a U.N. mandate in good and due form. Not that
these countries want the Peace Force Command to be
given to the U.N.: they feel that would be inefficient
and consider an American command acceptable.

Not that they mean for the reconstruction to be
entrusted to the U.N. bureaucracy: they're familiar
with its defects. They want U.N. political
supervision, even a symbolic one; because they believe
that the U.N. is the only organization in a position
to legitimize this phase of the transition to a return
of Iraqi sovereignty. The overwhelming majority of
states recognize the United Nations-because it
includes them all, because it is exemplary- as the
sole source of international legitimacy.

Mr. Bush has finally been forced to admit it.

Posted by richard at September 8, 2003 01:53 PM