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Yes, the UN is an Asshat

President Bush has been catching hell over Iraq policy from both sides of the political spectrum, in some cases justified. His apparent first choice to bypass the UN was the first of many mistakes the Administration has made. It was only after intense lobbying by Sec. of State Powell and mounting International pressure did he relent and seek an authorizing UN resolution. That choice has done nothing, in hindsight, except give critics a brush to paint Bush as a unilateralist. To this day critics call the assembled coalition ''fraudulent.''

The G-7 comprises the world's major industrial democracies. Aside from America, there are six other countries. The United Kingdom, Italy and Japan, have troops in Iraq. Three, France, Germany and Canada, do not. A 4 to 3 majority of G-7 nations are members of this so called ''fraudulent coalition.'' Eleven of 19 NATO members have contributed troops. Thirteen of 25 members of the European Union have forces serving inside Iraq. Granted some units are small but the term fraudulent hardly fits unless one is driven by blind ideology or political expediency.

A look at the UN's past record in protecting human rights and "nation building" may give some insight why Bush was reluctant to ask for UN backing. Considering the facts on the ground in the Caribbean nation of Haiti in recent days, its obvious the UN is again taking the path of least resistance rather than a pro-active stance.

The Congo
The death of an unarmed United Nations military observer last week (12 Jan.) mirrors the United Nations peacekeeping mission a year ago.
Last May, the mission headquarters came under fire from the latest ethnic militia to seize control of this town. Around the same time, the bodies of two unarmed military observers, stationed in the Mongbwalu gold- mining area, north of here, were found. They had been murdered. A third was killed by a land mine.

The incidents highlighted the peacekeeping mission's inability to stanch the bloodshed. Across Ituri, massacres followed massacres. The streets of Bunia were littered with mutilated bodies.

The United Nations Security Council responded by fortifying the peacekeepers' mandate and authorizing additional troops, raising the total to 10,000 peacekeepers in a country larger than Western Europe. In June, a French-led intervention force took control of Bunia for three months, effectively sweeping gunmen off the streets and bringing a semblance of security to the town.

Aceh Indonesia:
Since martial law was declared after peace talks between the insurgent Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the government collapsed on May 19, 2003, the Indonesian military (TNI) and police officers have locked horns with the rebels on the resource-rich westernmost tip of Sumatra. Reports of violence against civilians—including rape, displacement, and extrajudicial killings—have emerged from the affected area. On Nov. 19, 2003, the state of martial law was extended for another six months. Yet because of strict rules governing press coverage, the war is being fought away from the media spotlight and from the scrutiny of foreign and local NGO observers.

Former Pres. Clinton invaded Haiti on Sept. 19, 1994, to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. An Election in April 1997 allies of Aristide intimidated voters and stuffed the ballot boxes while members of the United Nations peacekeeping force looked on in bewilderment. The flawed election process and violence continues to this day while the UN sits on their collective hands.

In a report released last week, the independent Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (known by its French acronym ADHOC) declared that 2003 was the country's most violent year since the 1998 elections.

"The UN has to bear the responsibility for failing to create a viable political environment in Cambodia in the early 1990s," said Sunai Phasuk, analyst at Forum Asia, a Bangkok-based regional human-rights lobby. "The chaos there today is the result of how the UN approached the problem of restoring democracy." "The elections of 1993 and the country's constitution that was adopted soon after were the ways through which the UN sought to achieve that goal." But the United Nations did not "create an enabling environment for the newly imposed democratic culture to grow", added Sunai. "We have been deeply skeptical of the UN's ability when it comes to elections and the political process being introduced to war-ravaged countries."

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu extremists between April and June 1994. The UN had 2,000 peacekeepers in Rwanda before the genocide but it started to withdraw them as the killing began. When the scale of the slaughter became clear, the UN authorized more troops to be sent to Rwanda, but they did not arrive in time to prevent the massacres.

Bosnian Muslim safe areas:
UN's key failure was to define a clear and fair humanitarian objective. Apart from harboring legitimate Muslim civilians, all "safe areas" served as home for significant active Muslim army resources, and as a springboard for their military offensives. As such, using UNPROFOR military potential to "protect" them was clearly not moral, and meant taking sides - in open contradiction with the overall humanitarian objective of their mission. Their real, much overlooked, failure was the total inability to carry out their mandate in the UN Protected Areas in Croatia/Krajina, and protect them from open Croatian aggression.

For background lets start with the UN's description of the Iraqi Oil for Food Program

"The Oil-for-Food Programme was established by the Security Council on 14 April 1995. Some 3.4 billion barrels of Iraqi oil valued at about $65 billion were exported under the Programme between December 1996 and 20 March 2003. Of this amount, 72 per cent of the total was allocated toward humanitarian needs nationwide after December 2000. The balance went to: Gulf War reparations through a Compensation Fund (25 per cent since December 2000); UN administrative and operational costs for the programme (2.2 per cent) and costs for the weapons inspection programme (0.8 per cent)."
"About $31 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and equipment were delivered to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food Programme between 20 March 1997 and 21 November 2003, including $1.6 billion worth of oil industry spare parts and equipment. Additional goods and supplies from the Programme's multi billion dollar humanitarian pipeline are being delivered on a priority basis in consultation with the Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraqi representatives and UN agencies and programmes."

Under program guidelines distribution plans inside Iraq were "prepared by the Government of Iraq and approved by the Secretary-General." Here are some of the Koffi Annan approved items from December '02:
$ 4 million air conditioners, phones, and vehicles for the Ministry of Justice.
$50 million for TV and radio systems, mobile broadcasting systems, for the Ministry of Information.
$20 million for an Olympic sport city, including a sports hotel
$10 million for "sports supplies and materials"

This is a strange list to say the least. You have a justice system that rivaled Hitler, Pol Pot, Pinochet, or Fujimori's being supported by the U.N. with what is, essentially, public funds [tax money] from donating countries.

I must admit, I , and many others were highly entertained by former Ministry of Information head "Baghdad Bob." His performances in the face of certain military defeat showed a tenacity and panache that rivaled the best of the worlds thespians. His "comedy act" didn't obscure the fact the Ministry's main function was the regimes propaganda engine and should cast enough doubt on this waste of money.

The combined $30 million for "Olympic cities, hotels, and equipment," was spent with full knowledge the head of Saddams's Olympic program was son Uday. The now dead Uday is widely known to torture Iraqi athletes that didn't meet his expectations. The magazine Sports Illustrated printed a rather graphic article documenting his methods of "Sports Psychology."

In addition the
WSJ OpinionJournal has indicated possible corruption within the UN.

On Dec. 5 2003, during a trip to Baghdad, Claude Hankes-Drielsma faxed an urgent letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mr. Drielsma, the U.K. Chairman of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, had recently been appointed to advise the Iraqi Governing Council. What he saw in Baghdad left him shocked. "As a result of my findings here, combined with earlier information," he wrote, "I most strongly urge the U.N. to consider appointing an independent commission to review and investigate the 'Oil for Food Programme.' Failure to do so might bring into question the U.N.'s credibility and the publics perception of it. . . . My belief is that serious transgressions have taken place and may still be taking place."
According to the Congressional Research Service, between 1996 and 2003, the program generated over $63 billion in revenues for the Iraqi regime. The New York Times estimates that $13 billion is currently held in trust by the United Nations.
With little oversight from the U.N., the Iraqi dictatorship was able both to circumvent and to exploit the oil-for-food program. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), the Iraqi regime generated $6.6 billion in illicit earnings through surcharges and oil smuggling in the period between 1997 and 2001. Official United Kingdom estimates put the figure as high as $9 billion.

After the war the UN set up shop and provided humanitarian services. By most accounts they were effective considering the security issues involved in those early days of Iraqi freedom. In August the UN compound was hit by a suicide bomber that left many dead, the facility unusable, and a loud round of whining and crying about how the US failed to provide the proper security. A Special panel investigated and has called U.N. security management "dysfunctional"
It also concluded that the breaches in U.N. security rules and procedures in the field and at U.N. headquarters in New York are so serious that a separate and independent audit process should be undertaken. Personal accountability in the security system should be paramount, it said. U.N. senior management in Baghdad was uneasy with the "highly visible military presence," The panel noted that the U.N. asked Coalition Forces to withdraw the heavy equipment from the front of the U.N. compound, dismantle an observation outpost set up on the roof, and remove the barriers placed to prevent traffic on the access road that was eventually used by the attackers to approach and target the building.

The UN efforts at fighting worldwide terrorist networks have been just as dysfunctional. In July 2001 the UN established an independent monitoring panel to thwart groups like al Qaeda from financing its war against the US and other Western States. That panel has been desolved after failing "to constrain the terrorist network." The UN Security Council has adopted a new resolution sponsored by the US, Russia, and Chile that is "subject to closer Security Council coordination and oversight." The obvious implication being the previous panel was a dismal failure at its assigned mission.

Asshats is the mildest of terms that could be used.

Cranial Cavity


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Comments (2)

This post probably has some... (Below threshold)

This post probably has some good information, and I tend to agree with the point being made, but damn!, that's a lot to read without a hook to convince me it'll be worthwhile.

Don't mean to offend, and apologize if I have offended.

Nice post, for those of us ... (Below threshold)

Nice post, for those of us who like to read whole articles, and not just look at pretty pictures.






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