The U.N.'s Revenge

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by nycflasher, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    "...as a consequence of the administration's dogma that the United States needs no help and no blessing, the United Nations is now contributing plans without contributing troops: a brilliant outcome. The Bush administration never tires of instructing the world that the United States must lead. But what is the point of having led, if we are not followed?"
    source




    The U.N.'s Revenge


    by the Editors | May 10 '04



    The war in Iraq has become an epic of unanticipated (and some anticipated) consequences, and one of the most unanticipated of all is certainly the emergence of the United Nations as the new demiurge of Iraq's political future. How did the Bush administration, which was so boastful about its disdain for the ideas and the instruments of the United Nations, end up on Kofi Annan's doorstep in a posture of supplication?

    The administration's contempt for the United Nations was not lacking a basis in reality. In the 1990s, U.N. peacekeeping forces (when they were headed in New York by Annan), were accomplices of the genocide in Bosnia; and when the Clinton administration seemed on the verge of getting tough with Saddam Hussein, it was Annan who rescued it from its outbreak of historical seriousness by announcing that the dictator in Baghdad was a man he "can do business with." Moreover, the notion that only the United Nations has the authority to confer legitimacy upon the actions of states is ridiculous, even if sovereignty is not the supreme value in international affairs. The United States did not win the cold war for nothing. The outcome of the contest with Soviet principles and Soviet power was a vindication of American principles and American power; and it is not presumptuous of the Bush administration to insist upon this point. And here is Lakhdar Brahimi, the former foreign minister of Algeria and the U.N.'s man in Iraq, explaining the crisis in the Middle East last week: "There is no doubt that the great poison in the region is this Israeli policy of domination and the suffering imposed on the Palestinians, as well as the perception of the body of the population in the region and beyond of the injustice of this policy and the equally unjust support of the United States for this policy." If the U.N.'s special envoy to the region understands the region this way, then he really is special.

    But the emergency in Iraq is too great for this to be the end of the analysis. For whether or not the prospect of a significant U.N. role in Iraq is appetizing, it appears to be inevitable; and it owes its inevitability in large measure to the doctrinaire bungling of the Bush administration. The justice of a cause is not a promise of its success. If the United States fails in Iraq, the catastrophic results will ramify throughout the region and across the globe. So at this grim hour it is worth rehearsing a few elementary distinctions that have been lost in the din of the administration's certainties.

    The first is the distinction between military power and political power. Militarily, it is obvious that the United States can go it alone in Iraq, if "it" means destroying the regime of Saddam Hussein. Our army really is that good. But there are things that our forces cannot do because they cannot be done by force. Politically, cruise missiles are useless. And so the "revolution in military affairs" has interfered significantly with the revolution in Iraqi affairs. You cannot stabilize a society or democratize a country by satellite.

    The second is the distinction between moral legitimacy and political legitimacy. The former is no guarantee of the latter. The United States can assert that its aim in Iraq is morally right, but only the people of Iraq can assert that it is politically right. Without their consent, all our Jefferson will profit us nothing. If a large number of Sunni and Shia, each for their own reasons, conclude that what we are calling a liberation is only an occupation, and that the United States lacks the authority to determine the political direction of the country, then we will be helpless before the internal chaos and the internecine conflict that will ensue. Worse, if the Arab states in the region arrive at a similar conclusion, then there will be nothing splendid about the isolation to which the Bush administration has condemned its own grand endeavor. What we started alone we cannot finish alone.

    The third is the distinction between pride and pigheadedness. The unilateralism of the Bush administration, which was its revolution in diplomatic affairs, has backfired. The abject resort to the United Nations is a measure of this mistake. International cooperation in the reconstruction of Iraq did not have to come as an embarrassment to America. But, as a consequence of the administration's dogma that the United States needs no help and no blessing, the United Nations is now contributing plans without contributing troops: a brilliant outcome. The Bush administration never tires of instructing the world that the United States must lead. But what is the point of having led, if we are not followed?
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Yeah?!? HE and HIS SON did business with, as did the French, Germans, and Russians. Your point? Clinton helped them??
     
  3. nbdysfu
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    nbdysfu Member

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    I think there's a difference between acting as an 'unbiased' window dressing and actually taking full responsibility/ leadership of the war. Secondly, the UN stamp of approval on the nomination process, however meaningless that stamp may be to me, is one less battle cry for the retards on the far left to scream out that Bush is incapable of political maneuvering. Thirdly, the UN is a forum for reaching agreements, not a leadership entity. We are partly the UN after all. Fourth, the UN has its own problems including the corrupted Iraqi-oil-for-food scandal involving Chirac, the Russian Communist Party and John Galloway to name a few. It's not the holy council that you want it to be. Tell me, is the Iraqi PM being picked by Brahimi, who was also involved in the choice of Kharzai for Afghanistan, more favorable to the UN or the US position?
     
  4. st8_o_mind
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    Thanks for the post, I don't as a rule read the "New Republic" and would certainly have missed it.
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bminiter/?id=110005152

    I hope so:

    THE WESTERN FRONT

    The Fallujah Brigade
    How the Marines are pacifying an Iraqi hot spot.

    BY BRENDAN MINITER
    Tuesday, June 1, 2004 12:01 a.m.

    In Iraq, apparently no news is good news. Two months ago everyone was talking about Fallujah. Four American citizens had been brutally murdered, and then a raging mob dragged their bodies through the streets and strung them up from a bridge. Every mosque in the city was calling for jihad, while the local police and fire departments ceased to exist. Then two days into offensive operations, the Marines suddenly seemed to halt their advance. Fallujah quickly became a metaphor for everything that was going wrong in Iraq.
    Today, however, the city of 200,000 is relatively quiet, and there's little reporting on why. To find out how the Marines were able to pacify a city in the heart of the Sunni Triangle--despite accusations that they were shrinking from a fight for political reasons--I spoke with Col. John Coleman, who is in Fallujah and is chief of staff for the First Marine Expeditionary Force, which is in charge of about one-third of the land mass of Iraq. What he said revealed a continuing battle in Iraq that appears neither hopeless nor without progress. In speaking with Col. Coleman it quickly became clear that many of the images of the war that trickle back through the media and reports of "cutting deals" with insurgents are often out of context. This is a sentiment Navy Secretary Gordon England also sounded last week in a speech over lunch at the National Press Club. Before taking over in Fallujah, the Marines identified 28 individuals who were leading the insurgency in and around Fallujah. To date the Marines have killed or captured 27 of them, he said. The coalition is clearly winning.





    As they were battling through the city two months ago, the Marines realized they could easily crush the insurgency in Fallujah but in the process would "rubble the city." That would leave thousands of Marines patrolling the city, repairing infrastructure and trying to build working relationships with the inhabitants who remained. "That doesn't work us out of a job," Col. Coleman told me. Nor would it leave the Marines free to conduct other operations.
    What they needed to do was drive wedges into the enemy ranks--divide and conquer. From studying the enemy, the Marines realized the insurgents can be separated into five disparate groups with widely varying goals: foreign fighters (some of whom are very skilled bomb makers), religious extremists, violent criminals released from prison by Saddam and willing to kill for money, Saddam loyalists (those Col. Coleman described as "bloody up to their elbows" in the old regime) and former military personnel.

    The Saddam-look-alike former general who turned up to help coalition forces in Fallujah notwithstanding, that last group offered the best opportunity. It turns out there are a lot of former military personnel in Fallujah. These are mostly Sunni men who were professional soldiers and are patriotic and proud of their military service. Many sat out the invasion last year believing the coalition's promise that if they abandoned Saddam, they would have a future in the new Iraq. But since the fall of the regime, the coalition hadn't provided them with any opportunity for meaningful work. As a consequence, many were joining the insurgency.

    That's when a former Iraqi general stepped forward and promised the Marines that within 24 hours he could assemble 300 Iraqis ready to battle the insurgents. The next day he met his promise and within a few days the ranks of the brigade swelled to 900 men. Col. Coleman tells me there are so many former Iraq soldiers willing to fight insurgents that the "Fallujah Brigade" could easily grow to several thousand if the Marines would let it.

    Among other things, this brigade became a liaison between the coalition and the local imams, sheiks and Fallujah city fathers. One by one these groups were peeled away from the insurgents. Now none of the mosques in Fallujah are calling for jihad, local politicians are coordinating with coalition forces in rebuilding city infrastructure--the Marines have approximately $500 million to spend in Iraq--and the Fallujah Brigade is patrolling the streets. Ninety percent of the intelligence the Marines get on insurgents comes from Iraqi sources.

    The secret was to make "good hearted" Iraqis into stakeholders in a peaceful Fallujah. The unreported story in Iraq is that this insurgency would continue uninterrupted even if coalition forces withdrew tomorrow. It's not an anticoalition insurgency as much as it is a war against the establishment of a peaceful, stable society in Iraq.

    The Fallujah Brigade, however, doesn't have free rein. The Marines constantly test it to make sure it is fulfilling the coalition's goals. These tests include submitting to civilian rule, taking large-caliber weapons off the streets, ensuring the rule of law is prevailing in the city, working with and positively influencing city fathers, and adhering to all the Geneva Conventions and rules of war that the Marines themselves must follow. So far the brigade is passing these tests. But one area in which it must do better is helping to investigate, capture and prosecute those responsible for killing and then mutilating the four Americans in March. If the brigade ever fails to meet these tests, Col. Coleman says it will be disbanded. And if it is to live on past the June 30 handover, it must also be sanctioned by the interim government.





    After seeing American citizens dragged through the streets a few months ago, many likely expected to see the Marines drop the sledgehammer in Fallujah. But the truth is that all branches of the U.S. military are able to employ more surgical strikes when the situation calls for it. "The military is a pretty educated force," Col. Coleman told me. "What you may be witnessing is that our toolkit is fairly broad these days." Col. Coleman admits using the Fallujah Brigade wasn't necessarily the Marines' first preference and he's not yet convinced that it will ultimately prove to be a model worth replicating around the country. But, he said, coalition forces learn from their operations and if the coalition is to build a stable country, "everything we do here should endeavor to put an Iraqi lead up front."
    Mr. Miniter is assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com. His column appears Tuesdays.

    Copyright © 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
     
  6. nbdysfu
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    nbdysfu Member

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    :p: who? I've never heard of them, I've been so busy pouring over Aztlan and Al Franken's fabulous book of lies.
     
  7. OCA
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    OCA Senior Member

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    Is this the Kofi Anan who through his son was making profits off the oil for food program? Yeah the U.N. is a real important player in world politics, they have about as much meaning as the Queen Of England.
     
  8. OCA
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    Sure they do Evil, they've been on the island of Cyprus for almost 30 years and things are as fucked up today as they ever were. Fucking libs want to hand over our sovereignty to these idiots, fuck em, they can take their blue hats and shove them straight up their asses!

    The U.N. has never got involved in anything and brokered a peace or anything else. Bosnia? Shit they got in after the fact and some U.S. bombing missions. Cyprus? Enough fucking said. Iraq 1? Don't remember anyone wearing blue hats over there. Kosovo? Northern Ireland? These were all direct efforts by the American Government or in the case of Northern Ireland George Mitchell an American. Face it they ought to blow this damn thing up like they did the League Of Nations.
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Hey, the omnipotence of the blue helmets is never ending:

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&u=/ap/20040601/ap_on_re_mi_ea/un_iraq_5&printer=1

    Troops Would Leave Iraq in '06 Under Plan

    1 hour, 51 minutes ago

    By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

    UNITED NATIONS - The United States and Britain circulated a revised resolution on post-occupation Iraq (news - web sites) Tuesday that would give the new interim government control over the Iraqi army and police and end the mandate for the multinational force by January 2006 at the latest.

    The new draft was introduced at a council meeting just hours after the full composition of the interim government was announced in Baghdad. Russia, France, Germany and other council nations have said they want to see whether this government is acceptable to the more than 20 million Iraqis before they adopt a resolution.


    Many council members also want to consult with the new leadership on the text, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari was heading to New York to press the council for full sovereignty for the country.


    The new draft states that the interim government will be "fully sovereign" and reaffirms the right of the Iraqi people to determine their political future freely, control their natural resources and coordinate international assistance.


    While the draft notes "that the presence of the multinational force in Iraq is at the request of the incoming interim government," it doesn't specifically give the new leaders the right to ask the force to leave.


    Instead, it anticipates that the incoming government will make a formal request "to retain the presence of the multinational force" and leaves room for the date of that letter to be included in the resolution.


    The new interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, said Tuesday the multinational force will be asked to stay on and promised that Iraq's security forces will be a "pivotal partner" with U.S. and other coalition troops in the fight to restore security to Iraq.


    The new draft does put an expiration date on the mandate for the multinational force — the installation of a constitutionally elected government, which isn't expected until December 2005 or January 2006.


    It calls for a review of the force's mandate in 12 months or at the request of the transitional government that will take power after elections, expected in January 2005. It also declares the council's readiness to terminate the mandate at the request of the transitional government.


    "We've made it clear that the multinational force mandate isn't open ended, but will end at a given moment once the political process finishes," said Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry.


    Both British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) have said their forces will leave if asked by the interim government.


    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday "the revised draft underscores what we've said publicly, that the United States will respect decisions of the sovereign Iraqi government regarding the presence of the multinational force."


    The revised draft starts out with a new declaration, stating that the council is "marking a new phase in Iraq's transition to a democratically elected government, and looking forward to the end of the occupation and the assumption of authority by a fully sovereign interim government of Iraq by June 30, 2004."


    It takes note of Tuesday morning's "dissolution of the Governing Council of Iraq" following the announcement of the interim government, and welcomes progress in Iraq's political transition.


    The new draft "welcomes efforts by the incoming interim government of Iraq to develop Iraqi security forces."


    It states clearly for the first time that the Iraqi forces "will operate under the authority of the interim government of Iraq and its successors," and that the Iraqi police will be under the control of the Interior Ministry.


    The resolution also states that the Iraqi forces "will progressively play a greater role and ultimately assume responsibility for the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq."


    The language on the U.N. role was also changed to address concerns of some council members that Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) didn't have enough flexibility to determine when U.N. staff return to Iraq. He pulled all U.N. international staff out of Iraq in October following two bombings at U.N. headquarters and a spate of attacks.

    The draft now states that "as circumstances permit," the United Nations (news - web sites) will play "a leading role" in assisting in the convening of a national conference to select a Consultative Council, in the electoral process, and in promoting a national dialogue and consensus on the drafting of a new constitution.

    U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who helped in the formation of the interim government, is remaining in Baghdad to work on the national conference, which is expected next month.
     
  10. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    I just started reading it, on occasion, as it is on reserve here at the law library where I work a few evenings a week. Man, I wish they had The Economist here...
     

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