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Explaining reality to a few members of the "reality-based" community, part I

One of the memes going around on the left since the election has been to refer to themselves as "members of the reality-based community," which I presume is supposed to be a take-off on Bush's mention of "faith-based" initiatives and programs. (Although I happen to share many of the left's religious disbeliefs, I don't go so far into outright hostility to Christianity or any other particularly strong faith as they do.) Apparently a few readers of Wizbang are "based" in reality, but have wandered quite a bit away from base.

First up, we have the inestimable "Mr. Teacup," who opines:

Kofi Annan heads the largest humanitarian organization in the world - his compassionate credentials are fairly well-established by now. The US has no intention of withdrawing from the UN. It is an organization that is the crowning achievement of one of America's most beloved presidents and its charter was written by our own State Department. It is a towering monument of enormous historical importance that America led the world in creating. Of course, everyone knows this, which is why everyone also knows that the current anti-UN, anti-Annan talk is merely retaliation towards certain UN officials who took a pro-Kerry stance during the election, and in particular, political missteps by Annan when he publicly opposed the Fallujah offensive.

It's like a giant buffet of stupidity, and somebody just handed me a plate the size of a trash-can lid and a garden trowel. I have absolutely no idea where to begin with this, and there's no way I can properly do it justice.

The UN is "the largest humanitarian organization in the world?" By what standard is THAT measured? It might have lofty humanitarian ideals and goals, but it's been a long, long time since it even came CLOSE to living up to them. Annan is a wonderfully distinguished-appearing gentleman who has overseen the most corrupt and ineffective gang of swine I've seen since... hell, I dunno. Maybe late in Mussolini's reign in Italy or the final days of the Soviet Union. It's hard to compare, because usually such ineffectiveness and ineptitude is usually remarkably short-lived; it's only because of the continuing propping up by the US and other great powers that the UN hasn't collapsed in on itself. Its record on such matters as the Oil For Food scandal, the 12 years of weapons inspections of Iraq, the IAEA's criminally silly games with Iran and North Korea, the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Somalia (Annan's mother country), the criminally negligent handling of the Balkans (which NATO had to finally step in and fix), Somalia, Rwanda... I gotta stop before I give myself a stroke.

Teacup also practices a bit of intellectual laziness when he says "everyone also knows" that the current UN bashing is simply payback because the UN backed Kerry. Let's set aside the presumption that the UN has any business at ALL in interfering in the free elections of a democratic nation, and conveniently overlook that the UN has been a bad joke (on all of us) since long before Kerry even announced he was running for President, and has continued unabated to this day. I learned long ago that whenever someone starts asserting unproven (and, in this case, demonstrably wrong) assumptions by labeling them as "everybody knows" is almost always evidence they are talking out of their ass, and is certainly the case here.

I've come to think of the UN as a particularly interesting sociological experiment. What happens when you compose a body out of representatives of nearly every single government of the world, no matter how brutal or thuggish, and treat them all as equals? Somehow, you end up with the politest, most polished kleptocracy the world has ever seen -- murderous, larcenous, arrogant, self-important louts with the thinnest veneers of civilization who veil their true, baser natures with lofty aspirations and airy speeches.

I've been wracking my brain to come up with a single justification for our remaining part of the UN and continuing to provide over 35% of its annual budget entirely on our own, and it's not been easy. The only one that has come to mind is that it gives us a convenient way to see just who our true friends are, and who is more interested in spitting in our faces. That's tempered by the knowledge that we don't do a damned thing with that information, however.

Can anyone -- ANYONE -- give me five concrete examples within the last 20 years where the UN has actually done any good, that can't immediately be ripped to shreds with the careful application of FACTS? Bonus points will be awarded to those who can explain away the abject failures I outlined above. Teacup, this is especially intended for you...

J.


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Comments (98)

Piece of cake, Jay: ... (Below threshold)
julie:

Piece of cake, Jay:
Darfur
Srebrenica
Rwanda
Somalia
Oil for Food scandal
Rape & kiddie prostitution by UN workers in the Congo.

Oh, wait . . . you want examples of good things. Never mine. :)

It's not hard, first shred ... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

It's not hard, first shred it all then burn it. Doing it from either end will serve it's purpose.

Cindy

It's not hard, first shred ... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

It's not hard, first shred it all then burn it. Doing it from either end will serve it's purpose.

Cindy

For one, the UN isn't suppo... (Below threshold)

For one, the UN isn't supposed to be a humanitarian organization. It "evolved" that way because the 3rd world countries who currently "head" the different committees in the UN have their own special interests that they direct the UN towards.
Obtained from Shots across the bow
by the way, this is the origin of the "reality based community":

Excerpt:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

It is annoying how they all... (Below threshold)
julie:

It is annoying how they all come up with the identical talking points at the same time. They must all get the same letter and/or email with instructions.

Our talking points come str... (Below threshold)
minnie:

Our talking points come straight from Chairman Rove.

If you're not getting the memo, you aren't needed, so kindly shut up, you Liberal poser.

Julie, it's because while y... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Julie, it's because while your side claims to be "based" in reality, we actually LIVE there. Or did it occur to you that we all mentioned the same things might because they're all TRUE?

That actually should make things easier for you, julie. You could simply answer them once, and shut up all of us. It's very economical. Why don't you do just that?

Come on, Julie. Give us all the big smackdown in one swell foop. Rip apart the examples we cited. Show us all for the pitiful, pathetic, hateful morons you consider us to be.

I'm strapping on the great big "KICK ME" sign and bending over, Julie. Let me have it.

J.

Actually, Darfur is in Suda... (Below threshold)

Actually, Darfur is in Sudan, not Somalia. Anyway, UN might be a giant bureaucratic mamooth that doesn't accomplish that much, but saying it's downright useless is a superficial comment. It does accomplish some peacekeeping missions where, while the quality is lacking, no one else can, since neither nato nor usa forces can enter because of hostility towards the troops/countries. The information gathering of UN statistics groups are not bad. And they do participate in various important humanitarian works throught the world (not JUST because third world countries are pushing the agenda, this is a oversimplified statement of internationak relations). But the main reason the UN's existance is important is subtle and it mainly works in the symbolic level of international legitimacy and international conflict solving, through discussions, of course. Not that the UN works properly or does actually what it was meant to be. Unfortunately, most of the important world power lies in the IMF, the WB, a great deal of economic powers (whether they are countries and/or private institutions) and most unfortunately, Bush.

Sorry, the third world coun... (Below threshold)
tecua:

Sorry, the third world countries comment was from a guy called henry

"Reality based community" i... (Below threshold)

"Reality based community" is not a take-off on Bush's faith based community it refers to this comment from an article by Ronald Suskind in the New York Times Magazine.

As noted by Henry, earlier.... (Below threshold)

As noted by Henry, earlier.

Jay, Nice rant, ... (Below threshold)
Jem:

Jay,
Nice rant, but a little more research would have made it even better (why give your oponents a reason to dismiss your case by making silly errors about the location of Darfur and Kofi Annan's home country--Ghana, not Somalia?).

Why do I feel like I've ent... (Below threshold)
julie:

Why do I feel like I've entered the Twilight Zone?

doo doo doo doo, doo doo do... (Below threshold)
ginabina:

doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo...

Me too, julie...

Hey, Jay, julie usually *agrees* with this blog. Right? I think you might have meant to go off on minnie...she's the troll!

Or did I miss something?

I agree entirely. My whole... (Below threshold)
Beck:

I agree entirely. My whole Your UN Contribution at Work" series has been dedicated to highlighting the fact that the US has everything to gain and nothing to lose by withdrawing from the UN and booting them from our shores.

DarfurSrebrenica<br ... (Below threshold)
Keith:

Darfur
Srebrenica
Rwanda
Somalia
Oil for Food scandal
Rape & kiddie prostitution by UN workers in the Congo.

Odd, ain't it, that nowhere have I seen a lefty address these issues. Not once.
If the UN is so wonderful, you'd expect there to be ample evidence out there to refute the critics.

Er... Julie, I was presumin... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Er... Julie, I was presuming your "talking points" remark was directed towards me and those who had also pointed out UN failures. I appear to have been mistaken; I apologize, but also thank you for giving me a "straw man" to smack other critics.

Jem, er... umm... I deliberately made the Annan mistake to prove an earlier point I made: while blogs don't have editors per se, we do have thousands of ombudsmen who will fact-check our asses to oblivion and beyond.

Alternately, you could think I wrote this in the middle of the night and recalled some kind of scandal linking Annan's homeland and some UN scandal. I guess I was thinking of the French "peacekeepers" and their firing on civilians in the Ivory Coast, Ghana's next-door neighbor.

And as far as minnie goes, I'm 75% convinced it's a bot and therefore unworthy of attention.

J.

"Well, dear friends, we're... (Below threshold)
Keith:

"Well, dear friends, we're now into the tenth day of the tsunami crisis and in this battered corner of Asia, the UN is nowhere to be seen -- unless you count at meetings, in five-star hotels, and holding press conferences."

From the "Diplomad" blog--State Dept. employee on the ground there.

OT - Note to Suzy and Julie... (Below threshold)
BR:

OT - Note to Suzy and Julie - yayyy! The Comments are coming back on line again. Kev is rebuilding it.

I'm no fan of the UN, but I... (Below threshold)
meep:

I'm no fan of the UN, but I believe there's one sub-org of the UN that actually does good work: the World Health Organization. From what I remember, they did a good job with the SARS outbreak, and generally are good in responding to epidemics.

Some of the problems in WHO are bolstered by the U.S. (I'm thinking of not using DDT for malaria prevention in Africa, which the U.S. has nixed for quite some time...), but in general, I think they don't suffer or perpetrate the abuses the other UN agencies do.

I would have thought that some UN partisan would have brought up this point, especially as the WHO is part of that whole "humanitarian mission" thing.

Google World Health Organiz... (Below threshold)
BR:

Google World Health Organization Planned Parenthood Eugenics, and there's your answer.

First, a few corrections:<b... (Below threshold)
Brad:

First, a few corrections:
Somalia is not Anna's mother country. Ghana is.

As Charles Duelfer and David Kay's exhaustive reports will attest, the Iraq sanctions worked. Their goal was to prevent Saddam from starting up his WMD programs again. As we all know now, he didn't. And the Oil for Food scandal is still under investigation; Paul Volker has not yet released his findings in the case, so let's not jump to conclusions about the role (if any) that Kofi played.

Five examples? The UN is responsible for the establishment of Israel. The first Gulf War was carried out with UN cooperation. The IJC (Int'l Court of Justice) has ruled on many legal disputes like fishing boundaries between Great Britain and Norway. The UN has helped to establish procedures for the prosecution of Khmer Rouge members in Cambodia. And the Hague is currently putting a genocidal maniac, Milosevic, on trial.

One of the problems in taking Jay's challenge is that his mindset already suggests that no concrete examples I might suggest would alter his conclusion. I could argue, for example, that since UN agencies usually arrive in troubled areas after much destruction has already occurred and get thrown into situations where conflict still continues (e.g., The Congo, Sudan, Iraq), making the UN's task more difficult. His reply would no doubt be that the UN failed to prevent the problem in the first place. The assumption here is that all world problems can be prevented/should be prevented by a world body. This presupposes that all world problems are easily forseeable. Would Jay argue that the Iraqi insurgency was easily foreseeable? Certainly the neocons did not foresee it.

If the UN is so bad at handling dictators, the US is no better, when it goes it alone. Iraq is the best but not the only example.

As Winston Churchill said, "The United Nations was not set up to get us to heaven, but only to save us from hell." The U.N. is far from perfect, but it's the best hope we have for improving conditions on an international scale we have at present. Should it be reformed? yes.

J.T. : No, it was in suppor... (Below threshold)
julie:

J.T. : No, it was in support of the first 9 or so words of your post, since the most current meme going around is he delayed after 911 and he delayed after the tsunami. Both, of course, are lies.

p.s. -- Your offer of 'bend over and kick me' is still good, isn't it?

The alleged basis of the UN... (Below threshold)
BR:

The alleged basis of the UN's creation is a fallacy:
"Peace through unity." (I.e. world govt)

Peace is not dependent upon unity.
Peace depends on sanity.

Excerpt from: Lif... (Below threshold)
BR:

Excerpt from:

LifeSite Daily News
Thursday January 30, 2003


"NEW WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION CHIEF INVOLVED IN POPULATION CONTROL VACCINE SCANDAL

GENEVA, January 30, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Dr. Jong Wook Lee, a relatively unknown World Health Organization (WHO) insider beat out high profile competitors to become the head of the World Health Organization Tuesday. Other candidates for the post included Dr. Julio Frenk Mora - currently Mexico's Minister of Health and Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi - the Prime Minister of Mozambique.

However, Lee's work with WHO included being in charge of and weathering one of the most scandalous accusations to be brought against the organization. Lee, a vaccine expert was in 1994 placed in charge of the WHO Global Programme for Vaccines and Immunizations. In 1995 the BBC aired an investigative documentary verified by the Philippine Department of Health and the Philippine Medical Association that tetanus vaccines from the WHO were combined with a chemical known as beta Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, an anti-pregnancy agent.

The BBC Horizon program entitled "The Human Laboratory", which was never aired in the United States, noted that Philippino women of child-bearing age were administered the tainted vaccine and many miscarriages ensued. Dr. Reynaldo Echavez of the Philippine Medical Association stated that the presence of the HCG in the tetanus shot would cause the women to develop HCG antibodies, which will then cause spontaneous abortion if the women become pregnant.

WHO denied the accusation and claimed to have found negligible amounts of HCG 'independent' in the vaccines. However, the BBC report said that "There are several research programmes around the world testing the contraceptive vaccine linked to tetanus, which creates an immune response." Moreover pr-life leaders in the Philippines were alerted that a similar program of surreptitiously sterilizing tetanus vaccines had been perpetrated in Mexico."


The UNs work with refugees ... (Below threshold)
Will Pickering:

The UNs work with refugees is generally considered praiseworthy (but not the separate beaurocracy maintained for the Palestinians). This discussion in general is a perennial, but I think over the years more of the public has been catching on. Does anyone remember the New World Information Order scheme the UN floated in the 70s or early 80s? It was a plan to control journalists in order to redress the negative portrayal of the third world in the world press. And how about the "Rights of the Child" treaty? This kind of stuff went into remission when Reagan put Jean Kirkpatrick in as UN amabassador, Sen. Jesse Helms kept the heat on in Congress, and (mainly) the US held back its payments. At least since I was a kid in the 60s, the UN defenders haven't changed their arguments or their plodding "good government" tone. Nobbody in the US believes this anymore. Now if only the public in rest of the world would catch on.

Uh, yeah. You might want to... (Below threshold)
po6otob:

Uh, yeah. You might want to bite your lip on the UN Oil for Food Scandal. This is a popular meme of the Right, but has not be substantiated with a single shred of evidence.

The only person claiming to have evidence for a "scandal" that I am aware of is Ahmed Chalabi and he has refused (for some unknown reason) to turn over any evidence to the UN, the US, or *anyone*.

Let's not forget that it was Chalabi who claimed to personally *know* where stockpiles of weapons were in Iraq. Whenever we searched and failed to find them, he pointed to another spot.

He gave us every reason that we wanted to hear to invade Iraq. "They've got weapons. I've seen them." or "Don't listen to the UN. Saddam's corrupted them. I can prove it." All so he could get a shot at running for political office in Iraq. Guess what? He is. Surprise, surprise.

Don't be Chalabi's stooge. Probably the only reason we haven't named him America's Most Wanted is because we'd have to admit we were conned.

First, a few corrections... (Below threshold)
julie:

First, a few corrections:
Somalia is not Anna's mother country. Ghana is.

Oh, yeah? And his name is Annan, not Anna.

As Charles Duelfer and David Kay's exhaustive reports will attest, the Iraq sanctions worked.

Your conclusion, not Duelfer's.

Their goal was to prevent Saddam from starting up his WMD programs again. As we all know now, he didn't.

He was amassing money in order to fund his program. He was keeping the scientists on a short leash. He had every intent to start up again once sanctions were lifted.

And the Oil for Food scandal is still under investigation; Paul Volker has not yet released his findings in the case,

It's UN procedures that are delaying the investigation.

so let's not jump to conclusions about the role (if any) that Kofi played.

Oh, let's!

Five examples? The UN is responsible for the establishment of Israel.

And has done everything to undermine its existance ever since.

The first Gulf War was carried out with UN cooperation.

Big deal.

The IJC (Int'l Court of Justice) has ruled on many legal disputes like fishing boundaries between Great Britain and Norway.

I will pass on the fish rights, but the Intern'l Criminal Court is a joke.

The UN has helped to establish procedures for the prosecution of Khmer Rouge members in Cambodia. And the Hague is currently putting a genocidal maniac, Milosevic, on trial.

Give me a break! It took them 6 years to come up with a draft of the proposed procedures. Has anyone been brought to justice? Or are they just allowed to die of old age while waiting prosecution. And the Milosevic trial has been going on for what, three years? And, still no end in sight. He, too, will die of old age before it's finished.

But, hey, thanks for bringing to our attention more UN failures to add to the growing and long list.

Hi, Julie! (Did you see, ... (Below threshold)
BR:

Hi, Julie! (Did you see, Kev has restored the 2004 comments.)

Re UN establishing Israel - I'm sure there are experts on that subject, but I thought it started with a letter from Balfour in the British Parliament which became known as the Balfour Declaration. Something to do with political machinations re the creation of Suez Canal.

Hi, Julie! (Did you see,... (Below threshold)
julie:

Hi, Julie! (Did you see, Kev has restored the 2004 comments.)

No, and I really should be working! But, thanks.

Actually, a Bush Administra... (Below threshold)
Tommy:

Actually, a Bush Administration official is responsible for the term:

"The aide (a senior adviser to President Bush) said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." – Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004.

I'd second what Brad wrote ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

I'd second what Brad wrote and add that as of November of 2004 there were at least 17 UN sponsored peacekeeping missions around the world involving close to 64,000 international troops and observers from 103 countries. Of that number the US has contributed 343. (http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/faq/q8.htm)
What to make of these statistics? First, the US has other priorities right now with Iraq and second, let's not overestimate the UNs dependence on the US. Add to this the fact that as of November last year the US was not the largets contributor to the UN budget, it was the nation with the largest outstanding dues: $530 million. Almost half of the total UN debt.
Echoing Brad's comment, does the UN need to be reformed? Yes. Could the UN react faster and more efficiently to international crises? Yes. So the question now is what is the best way to bring about reform? Continue to withhold funds and manpower or instead take an active role from within?
And speaking of active roles:
Interestingly enough the countries singly most responsible for overseeing the oil-for-food program were the US and the UK. These two countries had to approve every single transaction made over the course of the program. Quite simply, the US and UK did nothing to stop the kickbacks having approved every one of the contracts in which suspicious pricing was involved.

UN's PLANS FOR A WORLD RELI... (Below threshold)
BR:

UN's PLANS FOR A WORLD RELIGION:

Excerpt from here.

*****
"If you are one of those who don’t have time to worry about the matters of spirit, not to worry, the U.N. is working to take care of that for you. Living up to its charter – to be an agency of the world – it has assigned Donald Keys, President of Planetary Citizens.. to fade individual worship out and to replace it with one religion for everyone.

My Keys explains that for all mankind. “The United Nations is the chosen instrument of God. Because of this fact, the world must come to treasure the soul of the UN. For it is a soul that is all-loving, all-nourishing and all fulfilling.”

*****
And elsewhere in that article:

"One religious organization which enjoys the UN's imprimatur is Share International, a UN-affiliated non-governmental organization whose monthly journal is published with the assistance of the UN Department of Public Information. Share International is headed by Benjamin Creme, a British theosophist who claims to speak on behalf of "Lord Maitreya," a member of the "Spiritual Hierarchy of Ascended Masters Creme insists that Maitreya is the Christ" and is working with other members of the "Spiritual Hierarchy to bring about the consummation of human evolution.

The December 1994 issue of Share International reports that Maitreya an his associates are rapidly construction 'the One Church and the New World Religion [which] will gradually emerge as a mutual tie to unite men with closer bonds.'"

*****
Ha - let's all become one! One big, sticky mass of Gaia!

Faith is a wonderful thing,... (Below threshold)
Ralph Dosser:

Faith is a wonderful thing, but it used to mean believing in God despite lack of evidence. For the modern right, it means believing in matters of policy and science despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The higher the evidence piles up, the louder you seek to overcome it by singing hosannahs.

And that, sir, is why we hold you in contempt.

Hey Julie -- Your ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Hey Julie --

Your "dissection" of Brad's post is hilarious.
My favorite well-substanitated, well-reasoned responses:
"Oh, let's."
"Big deal."
"I will pass on the fish rights, but the Intern'l Criminal Court is a joke."
But seriously, this is the best:
"Has anyone been brought to justice? Or are they just allowed to die of old age while waiting prosecution."
Isn't this exactly our plan with the enemy combatants being held in Gitmo? Indeed, how many successful terrorist convictions have Bush/Ashcroft achieved? What is it? Zero?

Brad - Yes, let's all wait ... (Below threshold)
Pat Rand:

Brad - Yes, let's all wait till the "world body" investigates itself before we are "shocked..SHOCKED!"...to find that it pronounces itself clean and pure.

We are all reassured that the IJC is slapping around some elderly Cambodian monster...approcimately 30 years after they started their genocidal rampage. I personally sleep better knowing that my kippers and cod are caught by the proper skippers. I hope to live long enough (perhaps another 70 years ought to do it) to see the IJC convict Milosovic of "perhaps giving the appearance of behaving in a publicly uncivil manner."

If you hold to your "forseeability" argument, then surely you must think that George Bush has precognitive abilities. Hours before UN mouth-organ was calling the US "cheap" we had ships on the seas, planes in the air, and hope on its way. To date the UN's biggest roll in providing relief has amounted to hand-wringing.

You slander the US record on removing tyrants and you have the temerity to then quote Winston Churchill...a quote from a time before the bloom of what the UN was hoped to be rotted. Are you so young that you've never heard the names Hitler and Mussolini? If so, then we need not go into any discussion of our ancestors removing the heel of King George from their own throats. Are you so perverse in your thinking that you think Saddam should not have been deposed? If we fail to erase tyrany in Iraq, it won't be for a lack of trying. It will because we are too weak...weakened by "let someone else do it" losers, by "it's too hard" pessimists, and by "hate America First" pansies who care more about their personal politics than they do their fellow man.

Got it? It ain't over till it's over, Yogi. How easily you slander the US in the shadow of men who died so that you had the right to do so freely. I am humbled by the depth of your ingratitude.

Odd, ain't it, that nowh... (Below threshold)
brad:

Odd, ain't it, that nowhere have I seen a lefty address these issues. Not once.
If the UN is so wonderful, you'd expect there to be ample evidence out there to refute the critics.

There's no question that the UN has big problems that need to be addressed post-haste. However, the only people that claim the UN is the answer to every problem are anti-UN'ers in their scarecrows.

Those without an ideological axe to grind, or without insane eschatological fears of apocalypse, generally agree that the UN needs to be reformed; however, as an international forum it can be quite useful.

Brad,To address a ... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Brad,

To address a few of your points:

1) The UN is responsible for the establishment of Israel.

The UN is also responsible for the perpetuation of the poverty of the Palestinian Arabs driven out of neighboring Arab countries by their fellow "brothers" after the creation of Israel. Israel has had to defend herself in four major wars (1948, 1957, 1967, 1973) without the help of the UN. The West Bank was under Arab conrol from 1948 to 1967 and the UN never lifted a finger to pressure Syria or Jordan to establish a permanent Palestinian homeland there. The UN also never lifted a finger to pressure Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and other neighboring nations to repatriate the Palestinians that they continually expelled.

2) The first Gulf War was carried out with UN cooperation.

...and fought with US commanders, troops, and military hardware making up 90%+ of the invasion force. This was a US Military operation that the UN takes credit for.

3) The IJC (Int'l Court of Justice) has ruled on many legal disputes like fishing boundaries between Great Britain and Norway.

...and I'm sure that the world is a better place because the Britons are not fishing in Norwegian waters. The IJC has also repeatedly tried to get Israel to dismantle its security fence because it isn't "fair". The decrease in terrorist activity since the fence went up shows the necessity of the fence, and shows that the IJC is more interested in placating Palestinian terrorists and feigning political correctness than protecting the lives of Israeli citizens.

4) The UN has helped to establish procedures for the prosecution of Khmer Rouge members in Cambodia.

Pol Pot never paid for his crimes against humanity. He deserved to be stripped naked, pushed into a pit, and buried alive - the same type of fate he meted out to 2 million of his fellow human beings. Instead, he rotted in a prison cell awaiting a "trial"- another luxury he never accorded to his victims. The way the UN has coddled genocidal dictators makes me want to vomit.

5) And the Hague is currently putting a genocidal maniac, Milosevic, on trial.

And what will happen to him? He will make a mockery out of the court proceedings and probably end up living the rest of his life in a luxury hotel in Paris (while the UN *ahem* actually the US) foots the bill. Will we ever see actual death sentences for war criminals and genocidal dictators (like in the Neuremburg trials)? Don't count on it. Actually, these guys should simply be turned over to mobs of citizens in their own nations, to face their own people and their own native brand of "justice." Hey, it worked for Ceaucescu!

Interestingly, no one has mentioned the mother of all beaurocratic f*ck-ups caused by the UN, which was the loss of the flight recorder from the airliner crash that killed Rwanda's president and precipitated the Rwandan genocide.

Earlier this year, the UN admitted that they found the flight recorder in an old filing cabinet. Evidence from the flight recorded would have proven that the airliner was not shot down, and probably would have prevented the Rwandan genocide. This had shades of "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", where the demolition plans for Arthur Dent's house were on display "in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused toilet with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."

Here's a link to a news story (liberal-safe source, CBS NEWS): http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/12/world/main605540.shtml

Mike

"How easily you slander the... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"How easily you slander the US in the shadow of men who died so that you had the right to do so freely. I am humbled by the depth of your ingratitude."

Pat --

What in the heck are you talking about? To even suggest that things might have gone better in Iraq is to slander the US and the memory of brave soldiers? This is exactly the kind of rant that curtails any kind of civil discourse. The same goes for anyone out there who believes the UN aims to establish a single religion. Not only is it absurb on its face, but c'mon, isn't the aim of every religion with an evangelical mission to create one religion?
It's one thing to argue that the UN needs to be reformed but its quite another to suggest its a monstrous conpsiracy to destroy our way of life.
Given Pat's POV is it not slander to suggest that the US is so vulnerable to insidious UN influence?

"Indeed, how many successf... (Below threshold)
Keith:

"Indeed, how many successful terrorist convictions have Bush/Ashcroft achieved? What is it? Zero?"
Absolutely. Yes. Quite true.
But they've been responsible for the killingof hundreds- if not thousands- of the murdering scum who shoot and rape schoolchildren and saw the heads off innocent civilians.
I'll take that over a conviction any day.

"I'd second what Brad wrot... (Below threshold)
Keith:

"I'd second what Brad wrote and add that as of November of 2004 there were at least 17 UN sponsored peacekeeping missions around the world involving close to 64,000 international troops and observers from 103 countries."
Well, that sounds like a hell of a lot blue helmets, just to stand by and watch massacres and to trade food for child sex.

Why is everyone here so qui... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Why is everyone here so quick to dismiss the UNs role in creating Israel or adjudicating fishing disputes?
Why has no one yet addressed the 15-17 peacekeeping missions currently underway all over the world in places like Haiti, Burundi, East Timor and Cyprus et al.
I'd also like to point out that the very reason so many on the right hate the UN is also the very reason why its often so slow to respond or seemingly inefficient: national sovereignty. You guys are afraid, on the one hand, that the UN is a serious threat to US sovereignty but then complain when it's slow to interfere in the soveirgnty of other nations, like says, Iraq. What gives? Where's the logical consistency?

Keith -- Those are... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Keith --

Those are hardly constructive comments.

"Actually, these guys shoul... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Actually, these guys should simply be turned over to mobs of citizens in their own nations, to face their own people and their own native brand of "justice." Hey, it worked for Ceaucescu!"

"ut they've been responsible for the killingof hundreds- if not thousands- of the murdering scum who shoot and rape schoolchildren and saw the heads off innocent civilians.
I'll take that over a conviction any day."

In and of themselves these two comments are reason enough to support the UN and international law. Goodness I hope you two are just joking or blowing off steam. You guys aren't advocating justice, you're advocating for mob rule and anarchy.

You misunderstand the origi... (Below threshold)
jri:

You misunderstand the origins of the "Reality based community" meme.

It sprang from the NYT article by Susskind where Bartlett was getting efussive about how Bush doesn't pay attention to little things, like "evidence" or "What is actually happening" (scare quotes, not actual quotations), and instead hoves to a belief that, " he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence."

the actual term "reality based community" came from a quote further down in the article where a 'winger was bleating about how god-like Bush and all Republicans are and that his opponents "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." His implication was that this is a bad thing (it's not).

Anyway, don't take my word for it. Actually read the article. However, you might simply want to ignore the reality of the article and continue with your highly constructive Liberal-bashing.


-

"Indeed, how many successfu... (Below threshold)
Mike:

"Indeed, how many successful terrorist convictions have Bush/Ashcroft achieved? What is it? Zero?"

A lie started by Paul Krugman and perpetuated by Weisburg and Mills in Slate magazine.

Michelle Malkin responded with:

"Oh? What about shoebomber Richard Reid? What about Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh? What about Yahya Goba, Shafal Mosed, Yasein Taher, Taysal Galab, Mukhtar al-Bakri and Sahim Alwan of Lackawanna, New York? What about Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Ford, Ahmed Bilal, Muhammad Bilal, and October Lewis of Portland, Oregon? And Mike Hawash? How about Masoud Ahmad Khan, Seifullah Chapman, Yong Ki Kwon, Donald Surratt, and Hammad Abdur-Raheem from the Washington DC area? What about James Ujaama? And Iyman Faris?"

Ain't it a bitch when the facts aren't on your side?

Michelle Malkin shreds Krugman here:
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000033.htm

and then proceeds to shred Slate here:
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000736.htm

Here's the Slate article:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2108766

And of course, we are fighting a WAR on terror and happily, we have sent tens of thousands of terrorists to their grave on the battlefield - a far more deserving fate than a trial by the IJC or the American courts.

By the way, how many terrorists has the UN/IJC arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned? Just curious ...

Mike

Frameone, the peacekeeping ... (Below threshold)
Keith:

Frameone, the peacekeeping in East Timor was and is an Australian and New Zealand affair. Not a blue helmet in sight.
That constructive enough?

Killing terrorists IS just... (Below threshold)
Keith:

Killing terrorists IS justice. frameone, you may prefer to see them waste millions in taxpayer dollars in a lawyer's feeding frenzy and then perhaps end up in a jail learning woodwork and being counselled for anger management, but me, I just want 'em at room temperature.

Mike --Malkin's po... (Below threshold)
frameone`:

Mike --

Malkin's posts actually overlook just how bad the situation actually is. The statistic I'm referring to is that the DOJ hasn't gotten a single jury conviction whenever its brought a terrorist case to trial. Which is probably why our strategy now is to detain hundreds of detainees indefinitely without trial or tribunal. Any way you slice it, holding people without charge or trial indefinitely is unAmerican.

Also, you and Malkin missed the correction on the Slate article:

"The authors originally stated that there has been no domestic terror conviction since 9/11. This was an overstatement, since there have been some convictions under a questionable new law prohibiting Americans from offering "material support" to foreign based terrorists. However, there has not been a single conviction for an act of domestic terrorism itself, including Richard Reid—who was convicted for an attack on a trans-Atlantic flight originating outside the United States."

Keith -- Not nearl... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Keith --

Not nearly constructive enough.

http://www.unmiset.org/

Pat writes: "If we fail to ... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Pat writes: "If we fail to erase tyrany in Iraq, it won't be for a lack of trying. It will because we are too weak...weakened by 'let someone else do it' losers, by 'it's too hard' pessimists, and by 'hate America First' pansies who care more about their personal politics than they do their fellow man."

This is the excuse you Right Wingers are going to use when the U.S. fails to secure a peaceful democracy in Iraq? Blame it on th eliberals and the media, just as you did our failure in Vietnam?

You're so disrespectful of any contrarian arguments in this blog that I'm not sure why I even bother to visit. If we were discussing this in a bar and you used the same patronizing tone with me, I'd punch your lights out.
And Mike, the Lakawanna Six were never convicted of anything. Michele Malkin is a liar. Obviously your solution to everything is just to kill everybody who isn't wearing a U.S. flag, thereby killing innocent bystanders as well. This method has worked so well for Israel in the West Bank to eliminate their terrorist problem.

"Killing terrorists IS just... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Killing terrorists IS justice. frameone, you may prefer to see them waste millions in taxpayer dollars in a lawyer's feeding frenzy and then perhaps end up in a jail learning woodwork and being counselled for anger management, but me, I just want 'em at room temperature."

You know what I prefer Keith? A policy that makes sense over one that panders to your medieval taste for vengence. How many billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent in Iraq doling out your brand of justice? What has been the result? We leveled Fallujah, the place is unihabitable, and yet the terrorist attacks in Iraq continue apace, unabated.

Sorry, Franeone, I don't ha... (Below threshold)
julie:

Sorry, Franeone, I don't have the time or the interest to always be arguing the obvious. My God, yesterday, someone was arguing that the Rathergate docs weren't forged! You just can't reason with some people.

First, no one is jumping to conclusions as to Annan. Based on what we already know, he should resign. And I guess it is special that the “UN cooperated” since it's so rare. But it is not something they should be praised for. Isn't it their job to cooperate?

And please, tell me why settling a legal dispute regarding fishing boundaries is so commendable? It happens everyday in our own courts. Were the British and Norway ready to go to war over herring?

And, yes, the International Criminal Court is a joke. Tell me why it isn't. Their trials are a joke. Their procedures are a joke.

And the one that you like best: How many people responsible for the murder of millions of Cambodians have been brought to justice? Those accused are going about their lives, free, unhindered, and obviously, unworried. Why would it take 6 years plus to draft some very poor rules of procedure?

As far as the terrorists in Gitmo: Here's a thought for you --justice is a two way street. Victims also deserve justice, just in case you forgot, we and the people of Afganistan are the victims, here. The terrorists can no longer plot, plan, or kill innocent people. They are interrogated and the info used to further destroy their operations. They are getting the due process they deserve legally. No more. No less.

Julie --No "time or ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Julie --
No "time or the interest?" Sounds like you also lack the reason or logic.
The details of the Oil for food program are far from obvious since everyone bitching about it conveniently overlooks the USs central role in creating and running it.

Solving international disputes over fishiing boundaries is a good example of where the UN can be and has been helpful. The original post was asking for just such an example.

The International Criminal Court is a joke why exactly? Becuase the wheels of justice turn slowly? Goodness gracious I could say the same thing about US courts.

Justice is a two-way street? Yes it is but let;s not forget before you can have justice you have to have law and the US policy towards Gitmo detainees has flouted international law and the US constitution from the get go.

No "time or the interest... (Below threshold)
julie:

No "time or the interest?" Sounds like you also lack the reason or logic.

No frame one, you are just tone-deaf.

The details of the Oil for food program are far from obvious since everyone bitching about it conveniently overlooks the USs central role in creating and running it.

The details are obvious enough that Annan has to go.

Solving international disputes over fishiing boundaries is a good example of where the UN can be and has been helpful. The original post was asking for just such an example.

So, we are back to big deal.

The International Criminal Court is a joke why exactly? Becuase the wheels of justice turn slowly? Goodness gracious I could say the same thing about US courts.

Not slowly, they grind to a hault in these cases. And, no, you can't say the same thing about US courts.

Justice is a two-way street? Yes it is but let;s not forget before you can have justice you have to have law and the US policy towards Gitmo detainees has flouted international law and the US constitution from the get go.

The US and the USSC position is that the detainees have limited legal rights. And, I could care less about international law when it conflicts with our own laws and our interests.

WOULD ANYONE EAT A MEATLOAF... (Below threshold)
greer:

WOULD ANYONE EAT A MEATLOAF PREPARED USING THE UN'S MAKEUP?

Assign a portion of ground meat for each member
of the UN
For a true democracy with rule of law, private property rights, portions
will be fresh gound sirloin.
Assign a "democracy" without rule of law a lesser
cut and grade of beef and sell by dates appropriate
to actual governments. IRAN?
It is downhill from here. You can select from:
insect/rodent parts
spoiled to putrid
e coli/mad cow
Just use your imagination and be sure to add
some lovely spices from those non aligned and
arab countries, and use a sophisticated Weasle
inspired gravy/sauce.

Try to serve at a left "reality based" function!

greer pgh,pa

Julie -- The US, n... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Julie --

The US, not the UN, made all the significant decisions regarding Iraqi contracts in the oil for food program. WE approved the contracts despite evidence that price fixing was leading to kickbacks. Go ahead and blame Clinton or whoever you have to but Kofi Annan had nothing to do with the contracts under question. So it isn't obvious why he has to resign.

Second, why ask for an example of where the UN is helpful and then when one is offered dismiss it as not relevent? And let's not forget the 15-17 UN sponsored peacekeeping missions currently underway around the world.

As to your comments about US courts: let us never again hear you complain about the lengthy death row appeals process (without which even more innocent people might be executed).

Finally, I had no idea the Right was so in to moral relativism. Legality and the rule of law are great except when they conlfict with the interests of the US. So why the hell should anyone obey any international treaty? Why do we enter into treaties to begin with? Why do we suffer the existence of other nations at all? Let's just disband the UN, withdraw from every international agreement and organization, invade Canada and let everyone one else go to hell?

Julie, you resort to name c... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Julie, you resort to name calling and apparently cannot provide any concrete argument to support anything. Your whole response is basically, "No. You're wrong." the "details are obviosu enough taht Annan has to go." What details, exactly? Have these details been analyzed by an independent prosecutor or just Senator Coleman (who has an obvious axe to grind)? Why can't you wait for Paul Volker's report?

The Oil for Food program was poorly managed, no doubt about that. But did you know that a Senate subcommittee found that Iraq got almost two thirds of the $20 billion through illicit trade deals which were made with givernments before the program was even started? You wanna blame that one on Kofi too? Or maybe Kofi? The UN was responsible for Sept 11, too, I suppose.

You reveal everything about yourself when you say you don't care about international law. To not care about international law is to essentially not care about laws, period. In a globalized world, if nations do not respect one another's laws, then the law itself becomes useless.

'To not care about internat... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

'To not care about international law is to essentially not care about laws, period. In a globalized world, if nations do not respect one another's laws'

Not to state the obvious but there's no relation between respecting individual nations laws and international laws. The US is not bound to adhere to any laws outside treaties that it is ratified and is forbidden to do so. Since the US has not ratified the ICC then it's laws and rulings have no effect on us. This is also the case with terrorists in both Gitmo and Iraq. Since they are not soldiers of a regular army in military uniform of a signee to the GC they are not entitled to it's protections.

Cambodia is an prime exampl... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

Cambodia is an prime example of the left at it's worst.

While the genocide was going on, leftists elites like Noam Chomsky and et al were denying it or trying to pin it on the US. In the end, the UN did nothing.

Milosevic is in jail at the hague because a nato snatch team got him. Nothing to do with the UN.

The prime activity of the ICJ seems to be trying frivilous lawsuits against Henry Kissinger. What about terrorists? who cares, those countries did not sign the treaty so what.

Want examples of the ridiculousless of the UN.

1. at one time Iraq was head of disarmament commission
2. now Iran is part of the UN disarmament commission
3. libya was chair of the human rights commission
4.sudan is part of the human rights commission. During the height of the Darfur genocide, the UN voted to keep sudan on the commission despite waging a genocide.
5. Syria was chair of the torrist committee.

the left is "reality based". Yeah sure

Oh, while we at at it. Wha... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

Oh, while we at at it. What exactly has the UN done for tsunami victoms other than complaining about the US acting instead of waiting for the UN ponderous pronoucements.

We have Clare Short complaining about the US actually doing something.

Meanwhile the UN is holding meeting about meetings at five star hotels and arranging 34 hour catering for their needs.

All the work being done is by the militaries of US, Australia, Singapore and India. The Aid work is being done by USAID not the UN.

I hear the term "internatio... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

I hear the term "international law" all the time.

There is no such thing as international law. There are international treaties and agreement but law sorry.

How could such a thing exist? Who would enforce it and ensure that the same standard is applied to everyone?

There is no international police force to bring malefactors to justice. Forget Interpol, it is an intelligence system and has no actual independent enforcement personnel.

The UN is set up for peace keeping not peacemaking or even sometime stronger. It can only act in stabilization once both (or more) sides agree to a ceasfire.

Case in point. The UN was useless in the Balkans. Nato had to set in and do the heavy lifting. In soamlia, too many tinpot 3rd world generals with each other were bickering to make it work.

By agreement, the ICJ only applies to countries that accept it. No 3rd world non democracy will sign such a thing and if they do they will repudiate it the moment it is applied against them.

So the ICJ makes a pronouncement against one of the Chinese leaders for Tianamen (sic) square, and China says bugger off. What then. Nothing off course. ICJ and international law are paper tigers. Nothing there.

Capt. Joe -- No on... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Capt. Joe --

No one ever said the UN is perfect. But that said the following list of UN sponsored relief efforts are all necessary and helpful, including the assessment of need and how best to provide it.

The following is a country-by-country snapshot of some of the latest items in the UN's multifaceted response to the disaster:

# India: With contaminated water presenting the greatest threat of deadly diseases in the tsunami's aftermath, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has begun moving nearly 2,500 500-litre water storage tanks to relief camps and distributing 3 million water purification chlorine tablets. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is planning disease prevention at district level, guarding against potential measles outbreaks and providing vitamin A and oral rehydration salts (ORS). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is monitoring fisheries.

# Indonesia: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is starting an airlift on Sunday of 400 tons of shelter and other emergency supplies for an initial 100,000 people in Aceh province, among the worst and most inaccessible disaster zones. A UN joint logistics centre will be set up at the central level and in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital and a FAO emergency coordinator and a fishery expert have been sent in.

# Maldives: The UN country team is focusing primarily on the provision of water, food, ORS and transport. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is procuring safe delivery kits for the 4,000 expectant mothers while UNICEF is providing food, shelter and non-food items.

# Sri Lanka: UNFPA is carrying out reproductive health assessments. UNICEF continues to help ferry the wounded and dead to area hospitals while providing 10,000 bed sheets, towels, drinking water bottles, cooking utensils sets and mats to assist the displaced and stranded. UNHCR has been distributing non-food items.

# Thailand: UNFPA has deployed mobile clinics while UNICEF has begun assessing the needs of children. FAO is assisting the worst affected sectors of fisheries and agriculture. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is sending 1,000 body bags and 2,000 kilos of formalin to the devastated holiday island of Phuket. The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is focusing on education and their World Heritage Committee will assess damage to relevant areas. The UN International Labour Office (ILO) will focus on longer-term rehabilitation and employment.

# Somalia: FAO assessment teams have already been mobilized for a food security assessment in the field and the WFP has stockpiled 83 tons of food supplies for the worst affected areas.

Ok, let me look at the tsun... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

Ok, let me look at the tsunami "interventions" for the moment.

Most of the points you posted are based on statements from the UN. The UN is spinning other organizations efforts as their own. The water purification efforts are Dutch, singapore and australian orgs working on their own without the UN. Funny how the UN claims credit

The food shipments are all USAID activities, The USAID people are ticked off that the UN is claiming credit.

As for reproductive and fisheries "assesments". That is UN breaucratese for having meeting about meetings.

As for medical clinics. These are mostly US and other military orgs coming in with military personnal and setting things up.

but don't get me wrong. I a... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

but don't get me wrong. I am am all for the UN getting involved so long as they do something and don't spend all the money arranging catering at 2 star hotels and having "high level" meetings

Action is what counts not talk. ;)

Frameone responded to my co... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Frameone responded to my comment:

"Actually, these guys should simply be turned over to mobs of citizens in their own nations, to face their own people and their own native brand of "justice." Hey, it worked for Ceaucescu!"

With this:

"In and of themselves these two comments are reason enough to support the UN and international law. Goodness I hope you two are just joking or blowing off steam. You guys aren't advocating justice, you're advocating for mob rule and anarchy. "

Actually, I would be happy with a repeat of the Neuremburg trials. Bring the perps to trial in an international court, plainly lay out the undeniable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity, pass sentence, and then end the episode with them swinging from the gallows.

Unfortunately, that will never happen today because international governments (and our own) are infested with intellectuals who favor political correctness over justice. They are more worried about the temperature of Saddam's food or the fact that he isn't allowed to shave his beard, than they are about the mass graves that he filled with 300,000 women and children.

Some argue that Saddam should have a chance to explain himself. But how in the hell do you explain genocide of the Kurds, or the rape, torture, and imprisonment of children, or the use of chemical weapons against civilians? I could care less what Saddam has to say for himself, just as I could care less what Che or Mussolini or Ceaucescu or Pol Pot would have had to say.

Evil is evil, pure and simple. It needs to be recognized and eraticated. Holding its perpetrators responsible with their lives just seems to be a realistic way to do this. Giving them exile on an island resort or banishing them to a luxury hotel room is not. And I hold the US equally responsible for coddling the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and the Shah of Iran.

By the way, Frameone and Brad, I appreciate your reasoned and measured responses on this thread. I wish all dissenters were as polite.

The US, not the UN, made... (Below threshold)
julie:

The US, not the UN, made all the significant decisions regarding Iraqi contracts in the oil for food program. WE approved the contracts despite evidence that price fixing was leading to kickbacks.

Gee, aren't you jumping to conclusions now?

So it isn't obvious why he has to resign.

Not to you, you're too biased.

Second, why ask for an example of where the UN is helpful and then when one is offered dismiss it as not relevent? And let's not forget the 15-17 UN sponsored peacekeeping missions currently underway around the world.

I didn't ask for an example, Jay did. And since it is irrelevant, I dismissed it. UN sponspored peacekeeping -- is that like when the UN allowed millions to be murdered in Rwanda? Or when they turned over all the muslim men and boys to be slaughtered in Srebrenica? No thanks.

As to your comments about US courts: let us never again hear you complain about the lengthy death row appeals process (without which even more innocent people might be executed).

No delays in Texas. :-)

Finally, I had no idea the Right was so in to moral relativism. Legality and the rule of law are great except when they conlfict with the interests of the US.

Hey, the left invented moral relativism. Nevertheless, I'm talking about US law. What's legal and what is the rule of international law? Refer to capt. joe.

So why the hell should anyone obey any international treaty? Why do we enter into treaties to begin with? Why do we suffer the existence of other nations at all? Let's just disband the UN, withdraw from every international agreement and organization, invade Canada and let everyone one else go to hell?

I don't know why we enter into treaties since the other side never honors them. As to the rest of your suggestions, sounds good. :-)

Wow. Blatant errors of fact... (Below threshold)
j:

Wow. Blatant errors of fact, lazy non-research. Specious reasoning. It's as if you're willfully ignoring your own critique of others.

"Unfortunately, that will n... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Unfortunately, that will never happen today because international governments (and our own) are infested with intellectuals who favor political correctness over justice."

I just don't know where you get this from. It is not a matter of political correctness, it's a matter of standing up for certain values no matter who's involved. Human rights aren't simply for people who deserve them.
It doesn't matter what Sadaam Hussein or even the terrorists in Afghanistan have done. They deserve a right to a fair trial, an airing of evidence and the chance to confront their accusers. We prove our values as a free and democratic nation by applying them to even the worst among us, not by picking and choosing who deserves to be treated humanely or justly. You would never suggest that Scott Peterson be executed without a trial would you?

And Mike, the Lakawanna ... (Below threshold)
julie:

And Mike, the Lakawanna Six were never convicted of anything.

And, Brad, a plea of guilty is a conviction under the law. And yet you feel qualfied to lecture others on the law!

If we were discussing this in a bar and you used the same patronizing tone with me, I'd punch your lights out.

Disagree with a lefty and they threaten physical violence!

Good Lord, the amount of Ho... (Below threshold)

Good Lord, the amount of Holy Sanctimony in the comments for this post is enough to start a whole other "progressive" movement, with some extra remaining for a candlelight rally. I guess I can start from the bottom and go up:

Brad: You reveal everything about yourself when you say you don't care about international law. To not care about international law is to essentially not care about laws, period.

I guess I'll reveal the same thing about myself, as I also couldn't give a rip about "international law." And no, it doesn't mean I don't care about laws. But I'm able to distinguish between real laws, made by governments and enforced via legitimate power, and progressive alternate-reality fantasies, where you can just scribble some stuff and yell that it is a law, dammit, and you can't break it, cuz we said so, you meanie rightie neocon meanies! Learn the difference between real law and fiction on pretty stationery, and get back to us sometime.

Frameone simply gushes moral superiority and self-righteous blather: Finally, I had no idea the Right was so in to moral relativism.

No idea about "the Right," but I fail to see the alleged moral relativism in refusing to abide by meaningless blather everyone else has been violating like a Saigon hooker.

Legality and the rule of law are great except when they conlfict with the interests of the US. So why the hell should anyone obey any international treaty? Why do we enter into treaties to begin with?

The U.S. enters treaties for the same reason other countries do: because it suits our interests. We likewise abide by these treaties as long as it suits our interests. If we fail to abide by a treaty, our credibility is damaged somewhat. We weigh the cost of that damage vs. the benefit of violating the treaty, and proceed accordingly. That is how international relations work, which is why international treaties are not absolute, binding authorities, and why "international law" is a fiction, insofar as the word "law" implies that the authority is absolute.

So if we have a choice of erring on the side of violating the Geneva Convention (resulting in the occasional sneer from some useless progressive), or erring on the side of being overly cautious and failing to obtain valuable strategic advantage, resulting in the loss of American military lives, the smart thing is to choose the former option. After all, as Frameone et al have so aptly demonstrated, offended progressive opinion is both cheap and plentiful. There is something to be said about the fear that if we don't respect Geneva Conventions, neither will our enemies, but our enemies have conveniently made this point rather moot.

The International Criminal Court is a joke why exactly? Becuase the wheels of justice turn slowly?

Well, it certainly doesn't impress me that Slobo Milosevic, after committing acts of genocide that would be rather difficult to hide, is still -- how many years later? -- being "processed" by "international courts," and in the meanwhile, is winning elections back home. But that's just the predictable result.

The reason the ICJ and all such international "courts" are a joke is simply that, made up of politicians, they cannot possibly be neutral in their decisions. There's a reason why the UN spends hours and reams of paper criticizing Israel (a country with little political power) while unable to find human rights violations in Iran, the Arab world, or even China (each with lots of political power, be it through oil or nukes). The same limitations apply to any International "Court," which may have all the outward trappings, but are not impartial nor interested in anything resembling "justice." Which is why it is, in fact, a joke pulled by the progressive set on themselves. Now they are mad that the rest of us aren't stupid enough to play along. Oh well, everyone needs a healthy fantasy life.

"If we were discussing this... (Below threshold)
Pat Rand:

"If we were discussing this in a bar and you used the same patronizing tone with me, I'd punch your lights out."

Patronizing? What? For failing to acknowledge that the UN arbitration of fishing rights between two of the most civilized nations on earth is mankind's highest ideal?

Sorry for sounding patronizing there Brad. I was merely trying to point out that you sound like a guy who hangs out in bars and physically attacks people with whom he disagrees. I can clearly see that I was wrong. You are obviously a Rhodes Scholar with a keen fashion sense.

Now, settle down. It was just a joke. One at your expense albeit, but a joke nonetheless. Heck, at least I didn't say: "I wouldn't be having this discussion with you in a bar...because I don't go to gay bars." I mean...it might be funny...and it might be true...but it would just be plain old mean.

The guy you want to "meet" in a bar is the liar that said Fallujah was uninhabitable. You could regale each other with spellbinding stories of fish not ending up in the wrong nets and thriving cities that are made vacant by the mean old US (if only in your own minds). Then you could pound a few Quakers and settle in for a long night of picking out just the right fabric for your settee.

More from Brad: This is ... (Below threshold)

More from Brad: This is the excuse you Right Wingers are going to use when the U.S. fails to secure a peaceful democracy in Iraq? Blame it on th eliberals and the media, just as you did our failure in Vietnam?

It's always about Vietnam for the Lefty set, n'est-ce pas? Ah for the glory days, when their self-righteousness, imbecilic "peace" culture, and wish to defeat "U.S. imperialism" left an entire nation to rot in a Communist prison! Now that was a good ol' time!

I'm not even sure where to start here: at Brad's assumption that the U.S. will fail in Iraq ("when the U.S. fails to secure...") or his implication that the Left and the media would have absolutely nothing to do with such an outcome.

Well, let me just say first that I supported this war even though I had (and continue to have) serious doubts about whether Iraq can be made peaceful and democratic. It's good enough for me that one of the world's most dangerous dictators isn't sitting on enough oil to finance Baathist lunacy for decades to come. We got him when he was small and weak, which is exactly the time to get genocidal maniacs. As far as I'm concerned, Iraq is already a success, though having gotten involved, the U.S. should certainly try to set up a decent system of government there before we leave. It's the right -- and smart -- thing to do.

And second, the media and the Left are most definitely complicit in the difficulties Americans face in the region. Those suicide bombings against U.S. personnel and Iraqi civilians are not done out of desperation, nor is there much real tactical value in killing a few thousand Iraqis and a thousand American troops. On a practical level, such casualty levels are trivial, and do not impede the mission. On the other hand, if every such attack is breathlessly reported by the BBC et al. as yet another "significant setback" in the Iraqi "quagmire," then even more breathlessly amplified by every "peace"-sign waving Left-wing dope from here to Lyon, that helps erode support back home, and ends up demoralizing the troops in the field, thus succeeding far better than even the most successful military attack. With a skill that would make Sun Tzu proud, the Baathists and Islamists have identified the Coalition's weakness -- a sensation- and blood-driven media and a collaborationist Left at home -- and have used it to their advantage, so that now even very small losses are perceived at home as huge, and the war appears to be all cost and no benefit. Thankfully, there are means of mass communication not entirely controlled by various mutant species of "progressives," so that the message of Baathists, Islamists, and their progressive dupes is not the only one heard here and in Iraq.

Brad then falls into what must be self-parody, giving us this little gem: Obviously your solution to everything is just to kill everybody who isn't wearing a U.S. flag, thereby killing innocent bystanders as well. This method has worked so well for Israel in the West Bank to eliminate their terrorist problem.

I'm not sure when the Israelis started "kill[ing] everybody" not wearing a certain flag, but that's hardly the point. Heck, the point isn't even whether it's the Israelis' responsibility to avoid hitting innocent bystanders when their enemies use those same innocent bystanders for tactical advantage in the first place. (Hint: it's not.)

I'm more amused at Brad's sarcastic estimation of the Israeli success at combating terrorism. Perhaps Brad would care to compare the amount of Palestinian terrorism Israel suffered prior to the takeover of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, to the amount suffered afterwards. Then maybe he could compare the rates of terrorism on Israeli soil just before the Oslo Accords, to the levels shortly after, when the Palestinians were given autonomy and weapons. (Pay particular attention to ~1996, years before the Second Intifada.) Then he might want to check on the levels of terrorism from 2000-2002, with all the noise of "road maps," Zinni, etc. Then, finally, to the levels now, after the Israelis started killing senior terrorist leaders and masterminds, and sealed off the West Bank, to the wails and hair-tearing of that precious "international community." Let's just say that killing terrorist leaders and walling off the Arabs have both proven to be extremely effective anti-terrorist measures.

Brad's sarcasm, like his superior attitude, is much misplaced, though both are amusing to read.

frameone: I love how you re... (Below threshold)
julie:

frameone: I love how you refuted every point capt. joe made by arguing: No one ever said the UN is perfect.

Hilarious!

Brad sez: To not care ab... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Brad sez: To not care about international law is to essentially not care about laws, period.

Really? So, one should abide by all laws?

Certainly, that would cast Gandhi and MLK, Jr. in a different light, now, wouldn't it? I mean, that would mean they were wrong to march and protest against unjust laws.

Ah, but international law must be just, no?

Well, except that it's never been clear to me exactly where these laws come from? Are they ratified by the UN? Are they voted upon by nations? Is there some kind of adjudication system actually in place?

Most of all, are they abided by?

Because, iirc, there is a legal doctrine that basically says that, if a law is widely ignored, then the law effectively passes from the books.

And before you suggest that this is ridiculous, let me know how often you get out of your car and wave either a flag or a lantern before proceeding into a town---laws of that sort remain on the books of many municipalities.

As for Frameone's comparing insurgents/terrorists/jihadis to Scott Peterson, the comparison is simply inapt. Peterson was not a POW. His actions were not undertaken in a war. He was an American citizen, violating American laws. Just as foreigners have no right to vote in our elections, nor do they have a right to serve in the US military or to access Social Security benefits, neither do they automatically have a right to any of the other civil protections afforded Americans.

More to the point, those who are engaged in war with us are most certainly not accorded the same rights as our fellow citizens. If that needs to be explained, then there is a fundamental disconnect here.

"I'm able to distinguish be... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"I'm able to distinguish between real laws, made by governments and enforced via legitimate power, and progressive alternate-reality fantasies, where you can just scribble some stuff and yell that it is a law, dammit, and you can't break it, cuz we said so, you meanie rightie neocon meanies!"

E --

What are you talking about?

It sure doesn;t sound like you're talking about legitimacy as derived from the people. It sounds like you're talking about legitimacy arrived at by force. They are two different things.
If force and self-interest are the only arbiters of what determines "real law" from "fantasy" then you've embraced moral relativism as a world view.

That's exactly why the Left has such a problem with US foreign policy. Interestingly, enough, it's why you have a problem with the UN. Suffice it to say that both instutitons need to strive for more consistent policies based on inherent and absolute principles of human diginity and human rights. Seriously, don't you agree that that is laudable goal for both institutions?

Julie, no-one ever said fra... (Below threshold)
Pat Rand:

Julie, no-one ever said frameone was perfect.

But just so he can't (truthfully) say that no-one ever said it, I just said (for real and out loud) that 'the UN is perfect' (not that he's a big fan of objective truth).

I mean it too...perfect in its self-serving incompetence.

Sorry to have to kill a perfectly good trope, but it was dissn' me in a bar...

Pat, here's what I meant by... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Pat, here's what I meant by patronizing:

"Are you so young that you've never heard the names Hitler and Mussolini?"

And then telling me to "settle down."

Do you know the definition of patronizing? Abd what's a gay bar have to do with anything--are you a homophobe as well as a fascist?

E. Nough: you wrote, "Those suicide bombings against U.S. personnel and Iraqi civilians are not done out of desperation, nor is there much real tactical value in killing a few thousand Iraqis and a thousand American troops. On a practical level, such casualty levels are trivial, and do not impede the mission"

My God, you're a cold blooded idiot. Have you no sense of history, or reality for that matter? Do ordinary Iraqis themselves who live in fear of going outside their homes constitute a part of the vast anti-war media conspiracy you describe? By your logic, if there was no media reportage, there would be no insurgency. A "healthy fantasy life," indeed.

frameone,I'm afraid ... (Below threshold)
Brad:

frameone,
I'm afraid Pat and Julie are incapable of recognizing the UN as an institution in any legitimate sense. That's only the beginning of their problems. We might as well try to debate monkeys.

Brad: Undoubtedly... (Below threshold)
julie:

Brad:

Undoubtedly, when the monkeys beat you in the debate, too, you will threaten to "punch [their] lights out. Bravo!

Who's judging the winner? ... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Who's judging the winner? Can we get an independent, unbiased debate moderator in here?

Didn't think so.

You may commence your victorious monkey whooping.

Okay, I've changed my mind:... (Below threshold)
julie:

Okay, I've changed my mind: Brad beats the monkey. :-)

Brad wrote:"And Mi... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Brad wrote:

"And Mike, the Lakawanna Six were never convicted of anything. Michele Malkin is a liar."

Malkin never lied about anything. She plainly refuted the assertion that the Justice Department never "convicted" anyone arrested under the suspicion of terrorism, which is polite rhetoric for suggesting that the AG and the Justice Department were on a hell-bent mission to arrest anyone with dark skin and a beard and the name "Mohammad" without ever bothering to make a case against them - probably because Ashcroft was a holy-rolling, snake handling fundamentalist Christian loony who thought that it was God's will that he destroy the Muslim heathen. That is the real accusation of the Left, and it is flat-out phony. Kind of like the fairy tale about Ken Starr spending ($30 - $50 - $70 - $insert your own guess) million dollars and "not getting a single conviction" in the Whitewater/Monicagate investigation.

Justice has a real problem with trying to battle terrorists via law enforcement. Making criminal cases is difficult, since terrorists use aliases and spend cash money, making it difficult to trace. (What kind of criminal case could we have brought against any of the 9/11 hijackers?) If we rounded up every Muslim foreign national with an expired visa and tried to deport them, we would be clobbered with lawsuits. When Justice tries to increase its ability to gather information on potential terrorists via (*evil chord*) the Patriot Act they are accused of reviving Nazi Germany.

What should they do?

I think that people like Jose Padilla, who were undeniably up to no good, deserve to be detained during the WOT. The other option, letting suspects go free untill we have "proof" of their intentions, is unacceptable. The criminal justice system fumbles this ball on a regular basis, and puts murders and rapists back on the street, and gives kids back to abusive parents. Innocent people die because of this, but we live with it because these people do not wreck society as a whole. But if we are talking about someone who will detonate a nuclear bomb and kill a million people, versus a criminal who kills one person (tragic though it may be) then you are talking about a whole new set of stakes. If imprisoning some innocent people who had the misfortune of being friends with the wrong people at the wrong time prevents another 9/11, particularly one that uses nukes instead of airliners, then I have no problem with it. That's the price we have to pay. And if you're concerned about locking people up "for the duration", then why not support efforts to win the war quickly?

But back to our original topic - how many terrorists has the UN/IJC arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned? Inquiring minds want to know ...

Not content with looking do... (Below threshold)

Not content with looking down from his white horse (with UN-blue highlights, to be sure), Brad hands out compliments by the bucketful:

My God, you're a cold blooded idiot. Have you no sense of history, or reality for that matter?

As a matter of fact, I have a pretty strong sense of history and reality. Nothing I know about history says that you accomplish anything by putting together a bunch of corrupt dictatorial representatives, signing some worthless papers, then pretending like it's all very representative and has moral authority. It is precisely my grip on history and reality that allows me to hold in amused contempt people who shriek about violations of "international law" and faint at the mere thought of spitting on the UN.

Do ordinary Iraqis themselves who live in fear of going outside their homes constitute a part of the vast anti-war media conspiracy you describe?

Nope, they are its victims. Again, there is nothing to gain from bombing a vanful of schoolgirls. It certainly doesn't endear the "insurgents" -- I prefer the less politically correct term terrorists -- to the local population. Nor are the Iraqis so stupid as to want the same people who would do such a thing back in power. Nor do the terr... -- I'm sorry, insurgents -- strike me as suicidally stupid. So why all these gratuitous bombings? Why all the blood-curdling press releases, promising to bring damnation on the "Crusader-Zionists"? Right, I'm sure it's got nothing to do with getting the terrorist message through the mass media, and reinforce the view that Americans are losing in the Iraqi "quagmire."

By your logic, if there was no media reportage, there would be no insurgency.

There would certainly be less, as it would cease to be a propaganda tool for anyone who wants to "strike back" at the "Crusader Zionists," or "Zionist Crusaders," or whatever.

And wow, Brad, is this the first time you discover that one of the main goals of terrorism is to get media attention and demoralize the civilian population, with the goal of making them just give you what you want? And you actually have the temerity to question someone else's sense of history and reality?

Frameone, actually, legitim... (Below threshold)

Frameone, actually, legitimacy of laws as derived from the people is exactly what I am talking about.

I could make a very long post here full of philosophical hair-splitting that would bore everyone to death. Instead, I'll just come right to the conclusion: the American people do not accept the notion that we owe any obeisance to "international law." (That's the basic reason why, e.g., John Kerry had to go to such pains to convince people that he wouldn't let the UN approve any American response to attack, and why most normal people aren't up-in-arms over the allegations of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.) You can call the various treaties and frameworks that governments have signed over the years "law," but no one of any importance recognizes it as such, and there is no enforcement mechanism. The "law" is therefore nothing more than a paper fiction, useful only for pointless speechifying. In other words, it's not a law at all, and I, for one, am quite happy to see it violated as often as needed if it is within American interests to do so.

Which doesn't mean that we should condone torture, violate treaties, invade Jamaica, etc. It just means that we will base our decisions about those things on something other than "this pretty document that says it's not allowed."

It's not that they hate the... (Below threshold)
Bogu:

It's not that they hate the UN, they hate the IDEA of the UN, because by definition it cannot be totally subordinate to them. People who attack the UN, or Annan always skirt around one issue. If not a UN, then what?

Paint me a picture of your better system of world governance. How are YOU going to maintain order, if not through diplomacy? (Gee, I wonder.)

"...we all know what needs to be done." - Eric Cartman, prior to an attempt at genocide.

"The "law" is therefore not... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"The "law" is therefore nothing more than a paper fiction, useful only for pointless speechifying. In other words, it's not a law at all, and I, for one, am quite happy to see it violated as often as needed if it is within American interests to do so."

But wait a second, doesn't this bring us precisely back to the moral relativism of American foreign policy or at least how you'd like to see it executed?

The reason we don't condone torture is because torture is always morally wrong. Always.
The reason we don't break treaties or willy nilly pull out of them is because our word is supposed to mean something. Always.
The reason we don't invade Jamaica is because we respect the sovereignty of legitimate nation states. Always.

These concepts have been codified into international law and we've accepted them (by the power of our elected representatives, mind you) because it is always in our interest to stand up for, respect and defend them. If we decide that it is no longer in our interest to keep faith with these ideals then, yes, these laws wouldn't be worth the paper that they're written on because, yes, there is no enforcement mechanism. But that doesn't make, for instance, torture okay.

Whenever we decide that our interests conflict with these inviolate ideals I would argue that we better give a lot of long and serious thought to what we think our interests are. We are living in such a time right now and don't see the right people, namely the people in power here and elsewhere, making decisions I'm comfortable with.

I mean, this country has committed acts of torture that have lead to the deaths of human beings in our custody. This is not in the interest of the United States and no doomsday scenario you could run by me would make it otherwise. I mean, seriously, you might look at conding torture in the WOT as a flouting of an international law (and finding a loophole in the Geneva Convention constitutes a full flout) that doesn't or shouldn't really aply to us anyway when our national interests are at stake. I see it, on the other hand, as an utter repudiation of the values that lead to the writing of the Bill of Rights. That is not and never wil be in our interest. I would expected that preserving the moral intergrity of our own founding documents would, in this case, have been enforcement mechanism enough.

Frameone, I'm not going to ... (Below threshold)

Frameone, I'm not going to simply accept your statement that we can never torture anyone or break a treaty. We've done this before (especially the latter, as the Native Americans will attest), and the long-term damage to our credibility turned out to be pretty negligible. Nor are we above violating another country's sovereignty when it suits our interests. That's just how the real world works, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you that a bunch of paper will make this reality go away. (Incidentally, if you do base yourself in such fantasies, you should promptly cease-and-desist from claiming to be part of a "reality-based community." Reality is far uglier than what you picture.)

That said, I have no quarrel with the gist of what you are saying -- yes, we should avoid torture, foreign invasions, or gratuitously breaking our treaties. But the reasons for this have nothing at all to do with the UN (which continues to be worthless) or your conception of international "law." And there are times when the negative consequences from violating these dictums (i.e. a lot of sneering Euroids) are more than outweighed by the positive consequences (i.e. no more Hussein). In other words, it is not always in our interests to abide by these rules, and it certainly isn't in our interest to make it known to everyone that we will always abide by them.

You fail to distinguish between our obligation to the members of our society, vs. our relations to those outside our society. Those within our society -- Americans -- are owed the various rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, which is really nothing more than a list of limits on what the government can do to its own citizens. It most certainly does not apply to those not in the U.S. -- not Canadians, not Jamaicans, and certainly not Iraqis. That the U.S. government cannot detain or kill an American without a trial does not mean that it can't do the same to a non-American. (Obviously, it can and always could: that's why we've always had an Army and a Navy, designed to do exactly that.) That may not always be a good idea -- and usually, it's a very bad idea -- but none of the principles that informed the Constitution or the Bill of Rights prohibit us from making war on non-Americans in whatever way we see fit.

Again, I want to make this clear: nothing in what I say is meant to endorse torture or the gratuitous nuking of Cairo. But to argue that either is prohibited by some absurd concept of "international law" or the Constitution, is nothing short of laughably ignorant. The detention of Jose Padilla may very well be a violation of the Bill of Rights, but nothing alleged to have taken place at Abu Ghraib does any damage at all to any of our founding principles or documents. The two simply have nothing to do with one another.

I'm afraid we're going to h... (Below threshold)
frameone:

I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one because whielthe Bill of Rights don't apply to anyone but Americans, the values and ideals behind them, should apply to every human being every where regardless of nationality or lack there of or else they mean nothing.
I believe that American foreign policy should be conducted accordingly. The reality of the situation is that to behave otherwise does have serious consequences for us as a nation that go well beyond to pooh-poohing of some European elite always a good strawman in a pinch). We reap what we sow my friend and Abu Ghraib will aways be a stain on this country in the eyes of the people we claim to be helping.

Wow - I feel I should take ... (Below threshold)
MrTeacup:

Wow - I feel I should take a bow! Its really an honor to be singled out like this.

Bush has a history of animosity with Annan, possibly beginning with Annan's public statements calling the invasion of Iraq illegal. Although in fairness, Bush went in front of the Security Council and told them to rubber-stamp his war or become irrelevant. So relations have been pretty strained for quite a while. Although I agree that the Oil-for-Food scandal is indeed a scandal and should be investigated, Annan himself has very little to do with it. The program was administered by the Security Council, with the US and UK playing the primary role in assessing the details of the contracts. The 661 Committee charged with overseeing the program was well-aware of the possibility of kickbacks to Saddam, but purposely ignored over 70 warnings, even though the US could have vetoed any of the contracts at any time. If we are so outraged at the corruption of the Oil-for-Food program, why did we take no steps to rectify the situation at the time? It was determined that the program was on the whole, successful and should remain in place. Here is a link. Pundits argue that Annan, as the head of the UN, bears responsibility in some sort of abstract way and so he should resign, but by that logic, they should call for Bush's resignation over 9/11, which was a much more egregious institutional failing over which he presided. So there seems to be much hypocrisy at work here.

I agree that the UN has no business backing certain candidates and I don't recall suggesting otherwise. However, I do apologize for my broad assumption that everyone knows certain things, but I tend to assume that everyone is well-acquainted with the history of the United Nations and our role in it, the fact that our Constitution makes it illegal to violate the UN Charter after ratification in 1945 and the importance of the UN to the Bush Administration for stability in Iraq and in prosecuting the war on terror. These are all in the public record. Your readers may be unsympathetic to the view that a conservative Congress would seek the co-operation of an international body, but the fact is that after 9/11, there was much less opposition to paying our back-dues to the UN. Republican House leaders are routinely pressured to vote on legislation to withdraw from the UN, but those bills are never even seriously considered, much less voted on. Politicians parade anti-UN factions in front of UN to demonstrate to the that if they don't co-operate, we could withdraw. Of course, the UN is forced to capitulate, so we never do.

You rather colorfully call my conclusions a "buffet of stupidity", but they seem very reasonable. Or should we naively pretend that political retribution is impossible and never happens? This sort of thing is routine in Washington, but the administration is breaking new ground in directly attacking the Secretary-General. I speculate that the administration may feel that the global popularity of the United Nations throws into greater relief our own lackluster performance in that department, so might want to take them down a few notches.

Drawing up a list of UN accomplishments in an attempt to demonstrate its value seems profoundly futile. One commenter remarked that he had no respect for international law and I think that really summarizes that worldview, that its an us-against-them world. Its a values issue, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the efficacy of the organization itself. Some people value international co-operation, and others do everything in their power do undermine it no matter what good deeds it does. Why, I don't fully understand, but I would be interested to hear an insider's viewpoint.

Nonetheless, I think there is some value to be gained from relating a personal experience. Two recent events spring to mind: Zimbabwe, 1997 and UNICEF's assistance in saving children orphaned from AIDS from the ravages of disease and malnutrition. The second, UNHCR in Scandinavia in 1994, co-ordinating efforts to provide shelter and a decent life to refugees from fleeing from Bosnia. Personally witnessing these two events, meeting the people who made it happen and being able to play a small role in them was enormously gratifying. I don't think I met any murderous, larcenous, arrogant or self-important louts, and I thought what they were doing seemed very civilized. You may rip these experiences to shreds, as you see fit.

On the subject of peacekeeping, when the UN was founded, it was believed that the Big Four post-WWII powers (Soviet Union, China, Britain and us) would cover the peacekeeping operations, and since China soon fell to the communists and the break up of the Soviet Union, those duties are now mostly ours. Yes - UN peacekeeping is lacking, mainly because of US reluctance to participate, so if you are suggesting that we do more, I agree.

It is my sincere belief that a free exchange of differing views among people of goodwill is the cornerstone of our democracy and I thank you for providing this venue and allowing me the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

MrTeacup

People who have pro-surviva... (Below threshold)
BR:

People who have pro-survival goals for self, family, their group, their nation, mankind, plants, animals, earth, the whole physical universe and all beings - will naturally co-operate with each other. They don't need laws or the UN to behave ethically. They freely associate, communicate, organize, and act on matters of trade and humanitarian aid on a self-determined, voluntary basis.

Those with anti-survival goals unfortunately have to be kept under control by enforced laws, for the good of others. But who gets to make and enforce those laws? The pro-survival or anti-survival ones? There's the danger. Who will guard the guards? At least, in a democracy, there is some hope that the pro-survival ones can have an influence in the way things are run. But the UN consists of un-elected persons from mostly non-democratic nations.

Brad said: "I'm afraid Pat ... (Below threshold)
Pat(ronizing) Rand:

Brad said: "I'm afraid Pat and Julie are incapable of recognizing the UN as an institution in any legitimate sense. That's only the beginning of their problems. We might as well try to debate monkeys."

Brad, if Julie and I are both as dumb as stumps, does that mean that the UN is efficient and effective at its core mission?

As for me patronizing you, do you really want to admit that you felt patronized by a monkey? You must be a blast at the zoo: "That monkey is patronizing me...the zebras are mocking me...the lions are plotting against me...the drinking fountain is laughing at me..."

I'd stick to debating the theses of the arguments you've put forth, but frankly, the argument that the child-rapists of the UN are superior to US hegemony is beneath contempt...and ever so boring. It's much more fun to tweek the noses of snotty little pseudo-pacifists who think the path to world peace is through bar fights. Priceless. By the way, that wasn't meant to be patronizing. I'm hangin' with the zebras now.

As for your pal who thinks Fallujah is a moonscape and the US is the world torture capital, well...whatever he's smokin', it must be the "good" stuff. One of us has relatives of the al janabi clan living in Fallujah and I'm pretty sure it's me. Torture? Yeah, there are torture clubs all over New York and the other 'blue' states, but that's a little sick and what does it have to do with the UN?

Gotta run, I'm late for my facial...err, monkey chow.

Some media are starting to ... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

Some media are starting to pull UN fact from fiction regarding what they are actually doing

http://www.nbr.co.nz/home/column_article.asp?id=11040&cid=5&cname=Asia+


And some aid from some progressive countries isn't really aid. It is more like a sleazy loan (for those that read spanish).

http://actualidad.wanadoo.es/carticulos/69904.html

And with all the rah rah fr... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

And with all the rah rah from various commentators on the UN, please explain to me now that we have the expertience of at least 10 genocides in modern times why the UN continues to DO NOTHING on Darfur.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/097kjrzn.asp

The french, chinese and Russians have huge oil contracts on the line with SUdan and have blocked any attempt to call action.

But the left as usual is puposefully blind to this and in turn asks the US to take up the mantle of action. But no action is possible under the current UN leadership. NONE. But the left does not care, because their only target is the US.

So tell me why the UN is usefull other than piss-ant small peacekeeping efforts. It is never important when the shit really hits the fan like a genocide or a massive disaster.

Annan was on a ski vacation but never called it early (continuing to enjoy himself). Perhaps if there was something he could show for it then I would accept his explanation (like GWB), but nothing was done at all in the following days but critize the only country actually doing something. For the US case, we have the lincoln carrier group which cancelled leave and dashed the day after. Any idea how big an effort to rush a ship's departure at the last motin is? But no, the left sees only one enemy and that enemy is the US. sad

the reality based community... (Below threshold)
janet:

the reality based community comment has nothing to do with faith based initiatives. several months ago a bush cabinet member stated that the left represented the reality based community, while the bush administration had the power and ability to shape new reality by enacting their policies. this process takes place very quickly, faster than the reality based community can keep up. i'm not making this up. google the comment for yourself. i'm increasingly disgusted with the hubris of this administration

E.Nough:I'm not... (Below threshold)
r.a.:

E.Nough:

I'm not going to simply accept your statement that we can never torture anyone or break a treaty. We've done this before (especially the latter, as the Native Americans will attest), and the long-term damage to our credibility turned out to be pretty negligible.

The lack of damage to our credibility is how you view the situation, but I would argue that there are millions of Americans who feel very differently about this, and for good reason. It's a matter of point of view. If I was living on some reservation I might feel that the credibility of the United States is somewhat questionable. We made many deals, and we broke them. It wasnt all that long ago either.

Nor are we above violating another country's sovereignty when it suits our interests.

It's true. I dont think that sets a very good precedence, however. After all, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait to serve his "interests". So its okay for us to do it and not someone else? No. Neither case is acceptable IMO.

The french, chinese and ... (Below threshold)
r.a.:

The french, chinese and Russians have huge oil contracts on the line with SUdan and have blocked any attempt to call action.

But the left as usual is puposefully blind to this and in turn asks the US to take up the mantle of action. But no action is possible under the current UN leadership. NONE. But the left does not care, because their only target is the US.

The Sudan is a serious problem, and what you have pointed out is as well. The importance of money, more often than not, comes out well ahead of human lives.

The Un lacks any real power, you're right, and nothing is being done about Darfur. It's bullshit.

mistake: the second paragr... (Below threshold)
r.a.:

mistake: the second paragraph in the above post is a quoting capt joe, as with the first paragraph.

my words as the last two paragraphs.

sorry.




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