Can’t help from there

Thursday’s Required Reading

Citizen Smash notes a story about the Kofi Annan’s pledge to continue UN leadership in Iraq — from offices in Jordan and Cyprus.

With a friend like that, who needs enemas?

“Mounting insecurity cannot be solved through military means alone. A political solution is required,” Annan said in a 26-page report that laid out how the UN can help.

The first step, he wrote, is to include some of the Iraqis who have been excluded from the political process so they have a stake in the country’s future. He also urged the US-led forces to tone down their use of lethal force “even in the face of deliberate and provocative terrorist attacks,” to undercut popular support for insurgents.

We should kill suicide bombers and murderers with kindness? Not nearly as efficient as guns and bombs, my friend. I realize that there’s more to be done in Iraq than just killing bad guys, but killing bad guys is a major bullet point in our campaign against terror. (No pun intended.)

Why should I spend my valuable time explaining why the UN doesn’t work when the UN is explaining it so clearly already? Wherever you stand on the issue of Iraq, you must admit that the UN has really dropped the ball over the past decade. I’d be very willing to expand UN involvement in Iraq and other World War 4 hotspots if they’d just start ACTING RESPONSIBLY. I’m not holding my breath.

Do we really want the UN in Iraq? Not in its present state. Look at Kosovo (Crime, terror flourish in ‘liberated’ Kosovo – Ethnic cleansing, smuggling rampant under UN’s aegis).

As always, I wouldn’t mind seeing us share some of the responsibility (and control) with the UN. This is EXACTLY WHY IT EXISTS. But if the compromises are too far from our interests, and they appear to be, we should stay the unilateral course, along with all the other unilateral nations who also happen to be in Iraq with us.


  1. The UN completely blew it on Iraq, IMHO, but there’s still time for them to step up to the North Korea issue. I find it apalling that they are just sticking their heads in the sand hoping we can fix the problem without them worrying about it. I tell ya, if the NK issue gets resolved by the US (which it shouldn’t) then Bush’s concerns about the UN being irrelevant will have been proven. It will take a long time for them to recover. I hope I’m underestimating the UN.

  2. We can’t exclude someone from the process, do it our own way, then blame them for not wanting to step into the mess we’ve created. But that seems to be the way we work. It’s the same with the contracts. You don’t get to have input on how we do this, but we want you to send money and forgive debts, but if you don’t wave our flag you can’t get any of the contracts. We obviously have to use military options because we don’t know how to be diplomatic. Not political, but diplomatic. But diplomacy is for schmucks like the UN. Clearly the UN has been ineffective in some situations. But to argue it is entirely irrelevant and ineffective? We should talk to people who are alive because of some of its programs. We could try to fix the broken parts. But I suspect we aren’t interested in anything we don’t have complete control over. Why should everyone look past our past failings but not those of the UNs? ‘Yeah? Well we used to like Saddam, but we don’t now. Don’t blame us for supporting him. That was then, man.’ I suspect we’re going to be kickin’ ass and taking names…and car bombs…and protests for some time.

  3. I don’t think anyone expects the UN to do anything. Their actions here (once again) underscore exactly why no one expects anything from them. If the UN had been serious about Iraq, that country could have been turned around in the mid-90s. Instead we were left with standoff after standoff. Even Bill Clinton went so far as to bomb them. But there we sat at the end of 2002, with more than a dozen resolutions totally ignored, playing the same old games the same old way. I’m more than willing to discuss fixing broken parts. But I’m not holding my breath. You’re right that we would be uncompromising about a lot of it. I think that’s warranted. Why the hell hasn’t the UN fixed the Korea problem by now? They’ve had FIVE DECADES. And that’s since a UN war where US troops did most of the fighting and dying. There’s no end in sight, except maybe another unilateral ‘rush to war.’ I’m not arguing that they’re ineffective or irrelevant. It’s way too late for that. They’ve beat me to the punch.

  4. Let’s see how we do, then. Where are we going next? How are things in Afghanistan? I’m assuming there will be no excuses for anything other than immediate, succesfful democracy. No crime, no religious extremism, no bad stuff. Tell me when to expect the results.

  5. No name? Not sure if this is the same commenter as a bit earlier or not. Yes, the US is going through troubles in Afghanistan. But if the reports that al Qaeda is shifting money and men to Iraq from Afghanistan are true, we could make quite a bit of headway there in the next year or so. In any event, the US is not in Afghanistan (or Iraq) for the same reasons that the UN should have been there earlier. We are there for US security first, security of our Allies second, and general world security in an indirect way third. Pacification and nation building are only weapons in our war, not the end goal we’re working for. For what it’s worth, if an iron-fisted martial dictatorship was in our best interest in Afghanistan or Iraq, I’d support the idea. The UN has a different purpose and a different responsibility than the US government. It would be nice if the two agendas were aligned, and I think that they often are/would be, but we are not there to carry out a UN mission. We’re there to carry out OUR mission, partially becasue the UN didn’t do much of anything.

  6. No name: I take it you’re the same No Name from the other two No Name comments. What: Destruction of regimes that refuse to co-exist peacefully with the US and our Allies, or that de-stabilize regions where instability harms US or Allies. When: Complete in Iraq and Afghanistan. What: State-sponsored or tolerated operations that threaten the US, our Allies, or our/their interests destoyed. When: Complete in both Iraq and Afghanistan. What: Kill as many remaining bad guys as possible. Make it difficult for surviving bad guys to operate effectively in the region by policing and offensive interdiction. When: Ongoing. Will never be 100% complete. What: Help establish new local government, preferably based upon democracy of some flavor, to take over basic operations of nation and to provide most of the security and stability within borders. When: Under way in Afghanistan, just beginning in Iraq. Will take (at least) several years in Iraq, probably longer in Afghanistan. What: Flowering democracy, peaceful co-existence of formerly mortal enemies, blissful happiness of all men and women, crime-free cities, religious tolerance. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men. When: Up to the local government and population. (The US has the oldest national constitution in the world, and we aren’t even close. But it’s nicer in Detroit, than in Pyongyang, and Detroit is a poor example of American success.) We saw the what and when that the UN was working on in Iraq, and what they’re doing in DPRK: What: Nothing real significant to any party involved. When: Never, or maybe even longer. I’ll take our plan.

  7. Okay. What, exactly, was/is the UN’s mission? Was it to destroy regimes that refuse to co-exist peacefully with the US and our Allies, or that de-stabilize regions where instability harms US or Allies, and that sponsor or tolerate operations that threaten the US, our Allies, or our/their interests? That does sound like the job for our country and it’s allies. Provide a forum and structure for multilateral approaches to solving th problems of the world? That sounds like the UN. Tough to do without real support from the more powerful nations and when you are crippled by a bad structure, but they do the best they can trying to feed people, prevent disease and keep people safe. Don’t let Eminem know you’re dissing Detroit.

  8. Provide a forum and structure for multilateral approaches to solving th problems of the world?’ First, yes. That is exactly what the UN is for. Second, what is that going to solve? Nothing if the parties aren’t interested in actually solving the problem. At best, they’ll agree to disagree. (And I ask again…where are they in the Korea situation?) Too many people seem to think that the UN represents some sort of ‘world goverernment’ or has some sort of authority over its members. It’s really nothing but a designated meeting place for nations to vent. There is no ‘UN’ as such, in and of itself. In some nebulous way, ‘the UN’ may exist as a collective opinion of its memebers, but that’s all it is. We are in Iraq conducting US-centric missions because it is in our national interest to do so. If more nations in the UN had been more willing to stand up for what’s fair and just, maybe we wouldn’t have to do what we’re doing. Or maybe we would have done it with a lot more help. But to pretend that the UN holds some sort of authority over us (or anyone else) and that getting approval from it is critical to our success is wrong. And to complain about the US ignoring the UN is going to be as effective as complaining that North Korea or Saddam ignored the UN. Iraq is a good chance for the UN to prove that it (via its member nations) can contribute to the greater good after diplomatic channels have failed. Korea is a good chance to prove that the UN can play a positive role in heading off trouble before it erupts and interested nations are forced to take matters into their own hands. I just don’t see it happening. I wish I did.