While flipping through my local newspaper (remember those?) this morning, I came to the weekly “Perspective” section that includes a number of political cartoons from the previous week. Normally, my paper prints one cartoon per day from various sources, and it’s nice to see some of those that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. In today’s section, three of the five cartoon were about Iraq. In one (by Jim Morin), Bush and Rumsfeld run with white paint to cover anti-UN grafitti painted on the walls of the UN HQ building. (I’m having trouble finding a link. I’ll post one if I find one.) I guess the idea is that suddenly the administration has changed their minds about the level of UN involvement in Iraq.
France and Germany, especially, are not even close to accepting the latest US proposal to the UN. They want an Iraqi government set up quickly and the US out almost immediately. They suggest that a functioning Iraqi government be set up within a couple of months. Steven Den Beste sums it up nicely
The latest French counter-proposal in the UN would call for formation of a fully independent Iraqi government in one to two months, and a complete American pullout by the end of the year, with American influence drastically reduced in the mean time. If that were to take place, the resulting government would unquestionably eventually become yet another dictatorship, no more successful than the others in that region. Which is the point.
That would defeat our purpose. It would prevent the spread of reform. It would not represent a threat to the existing governments there. It would be an American defeat. And that’s why they’re pushing it.
The fact that France and Germany are completely opposed to our proposals indicates to me that we haven’t really changed our stance all that much. If we really have done an about-face, and gone with hat in hands to the UN asking for help, we’re doing a real bad job of it. I think, on the other hand, that we’ve simply put forth what’s basically the same proposal we’ve been putting forth all along. The reaction of Old Europe indicates to me that this is the case.
I think there is some room for compromise with the UN, and I think that we should make every effort to reach a deal. But we must not give up what we’ve worked so hard to get. We entered Iraq the way we wanted to, and despite problems and press reports to the contrary, WE ARE SUCCEEDING there.
We’re sticking to our guns. The UN’s rejections underscore that.