Monday, April 19, 2004

I simply cannot understand why President Bush keeps appealing to United Nations for its help and cooperation when that institution has proven itself to be incapable of doing anything significant in the field of human rights let alone international terrorism. Nor can I understand why Secretary of State Colin Powell has called the U.N. a “Coalition partner” when it is at best a sneering onlooker.

I base this judgment on a long dead-letter U.N. resolution dated Dec. 9, 1994, passed by the General Assembly almost a decade ago, about which little is heard. In fact, few people even know it exists. And why should they, since the resolution died the day it passed?

To discuss this resolution is to prove beyond a shadow of doubt the U.N. is a fraud, a betrayer of our hopes to establish a rule of law among nations. This 10-year-old resolution, titled “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism,” passed with no opposition. And a fat lot of good it did.

The 1994 resolution text begins with this laudable preamble:

“Having considered in depth the question of measures to eliminate international terrorism, [and] convinced that the adoption of the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism should contribute to the enhancement of the struggle against international terrorism. … ”

Were such a resolution presented once again to the U.N. Sixth Committee, I doubt it would ever be considered. The rot is deep in the U.N. General Assembly. How deep? Mark these words of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan as late as Feb. 24, 1998: “Can I trust Saddam Hussein? I think I can do business with him.” Mr. Annan was bestowing his confidence on a dictator whose genocidal practices were well-known, a dictator who poison-gassed 5,000 Iraqis in Halabja in 1991.

The 1994 U.N. resolution demands that member states “take all appropriate measures at the national and international levels to eliminate terrorism.” Appended to the resolution is the “Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism.”

Congress ought to appoint a special committee to find out why the U.N. has ignored its own resolution and why it has failed to fulfill what its own General Assembly demanded of the Secretariat.

The U.N. resolution said the General Assembly was “deeply disturbed by the worldwide persistence of acts of international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations … which endanger or take innocent lives.” The GA, it said, was “firmly determined to eliminate international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations [and] that those responsible for acts of international terrorism must be brought to justice.”

Mark those words: There is no justification, said the U.N., for international terrorism — that is taking the lives of innocent people as at the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, or in Madrid on March 11, 2004. Terrorism is terrorism regardless of political slogans or issues, said yesterday’s United Nations.

If Kofi Annan and the U.N. Security Council are serious about combating terrorism, they should immediately call a special General Assembly session to renew the General Assembly Declaration of 1994. Were this resolution in effect today, the Coalition forces in Iraq would have the legitimating support of the U.N. just as the United States had in 1950 when it almost single-handed rescued South Korea from being swallowed up by the military dictatorship of North Korea’s Kim Il-sung.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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