- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 6, 2003

The “district work period” — as our vaunted “public servants” in the House and Senate like to call their summer vacation — has ended, and Congress is back in session. Democrats returned to the nation’s capital salivating at the prospect that the United Nations may yet get to run Iraq. The only way to defend America’s national security, they argue, is to “internationalize” the rebuilding of Iraq and place our fate in the hands of Kofi Annan and the French. It is now liberal dogma to trust the United Nations more than the U.S. government.

As members of the U.N. Fan Club, liberals contend that United Nations peacekeepers can stabilize Iraq better than the U.S. military. They believe Kofi Annan is more committed and better equipped to defeat terrorism than President Bush, and they want the U.N. Security Council, not the U.S. Congress, to be the final arbiter on sending American troops into war.

Sensing opportunity, Democrats are carping louder for their U.N. buddies to take over Iraq. The head of the U.N. Fan Club is presidential hopeful and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, whose condemnation of Iraq’s liberation knows no bounds. Mr. Dean appeals to a fringe group of Bush haters, professional protesters and cyber-bums, who have only contempt for their country and its defenders.

Although Mr. Bush has brilliantly lead the nation in the two years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Dean claims Mr. Bush “really doesn’t understand what it means to have a strong defense.” Mr. Dean’s prescription for rebuilding Iraq: “Work with the U.N. to build the largest coalition possible” and put the United Nations in charge of the successor of the U.N. Oil for Food program.

Mr. Dean ignores the fact that the Bush administration has asked the United Nations for help in the war on terrorism and in rebuilding Iraq. But like a spoiled child on the playground, the United Nations wants no part of those efforts if it can’t be in charge and amass power. Mr. Dean also insists the United Nations oversee another “oil for food program” even though it was first corrupted under Mr. Annan’s management. The program was supposed to use Iraq’s oil revenues to provide the Iraqi people with those things Saddam refused to give them — food and medicine. Instead, Saddam skimmed billions of dollars as Mr. Annan looked the other way.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is another Democratic presidential hopeful who seems perfectly happy to subordinate U.S. interests to the United Nations. In his announcement speech, Mr. Kerry sounded more like a candidate for U.N. secretary-general than for president of the United States. Standing in South Carolina’s “Patriot’s Point,” he explained that denying the United Nations a leadership role in rebuilding a country that U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines liberated was a “miscalculation of colossal proportions.” He demanded the Bush administration “return to the United Nations — with genuine respect” and explained that when he voted to authorize war in Iraq it was to “make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations.” He didn’t mention if U.S. security interests factored into his decision.

Mr. Dean and Mr. Kerry are just two Democrats among many who are looking for a wider U.N. role. Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri says the only way to “win the peace in Iraq” is to “have help” from the United Nations. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota says bringing the United Nations into the equation has “been a long time in coming.”

But the Democrats have it backward. The United Nations sought at every turn to obstruct and delegitimize any decisive strike against Saddam’s regime. The United Nations is conditioning financial and personnel assistance to the Iraqi people upon how much power and authority it can amass in Iraq. Anywhere else, this would be political blackmail. At the United Nations, it’s business as usual.

U.S. taxpayers pour billions of dollars each year into the U.N. coffers and in return get an endless stream of anti-American rhetoric and political posturing from U.N. bureaucrats and member nations that are virulently opposed to human rights, the rule of law and democracy. While U.S. forces have been toppling Saddam and rounding up remnants of his regime, the United Nations has placed Libya in charge of its Human Rights Commission.

Last month, the U.N. Economic and Social Council retaliated against Reporters Without Borders because the group insisted on exposing human rights violations in Cuba. Among those who voted to silence Reporters Without Borders were — surprise — Cuba, Libya, China, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The Aug. 19 terrorist attack on the U.N. Baghdad headquarters that killed 23 people, including top U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, is instructive. Security was lax because U.N. officials believe, as “humanitarians,” they are immune to terrorism. They put terrorist states on a par with peaceful democracies, refuse to condemn terrorism or terrorists, and, as was evidenced by the corruption of the Oil for Food Program, chose to work hand-in-glove with a repressive dictator to the detriment of the Iraqi people.

Yet the Democrats are insisting that U.S. national security and Iraq’s future be placed in the hands of this craven and corrupt collection of global bureaucrats. They may yet get their wish. And if they do, we will all live to regret it.

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist and the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance.

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