A cynic may be the only person enjoying the current scene Bush administration officials scurrying frantically around, like so many roaches caught with the light suddenly turned on, to the UNSC, to Germany, France, Congress, and the compliant mainstream media talk shows, diligently explaining the virtues of a broader based coalition of forces for Iraq carrying full UN endorsement. But the cynic also sees the roaches peering out from beneath the stove hoarding the goodies they’ve acquired by their invasion in the dark of night. Powell and Rumsfeld, buddies once again we’re assured, proclaim how this is an international concern requiring all members of the United Nations to join the coalition by sending troops and money. When asked what’s in it for them beyond loss of revenue and body bags, the dynamic duo can only mutter, “It’s in your best interest.”
Thus the spectacle! Powell crawling out from his hiding place, humble pie smeared over his face, groveling before his erstwhile friends, the ones he coddled, cajoled, and abandoned between February and March five months ago, pleading with them to pass yet another resolution making legitimate the administration’s illegal invasion. But Chirac and Schroeder, arm in arm, smiles wide and sure, chuckle at the scene even as they delicately step in and around the scurrying roaches, refrain from saying “I told you so,” and await wording that would give them what they wanted five months ago. The entire spectacle is deplorable.
Alex Cockburn, in these pages a few weeks ago, caustically noted that UN officials, most especially the Secretary General Koffi Annan, confused the UN with the US: the UN is the US to all intents and purposes. Annan received his anointment in much the same manner as Bush received his–through the blessings of those who are the real power, the corporations and lobbyists who own the judges and the politicians; for Bush the court system and party operatives particularly in Florida and DC; for Annan the controlling administration in the US that pulls the strings on who will serve appropriately US interests as Secretary General.
Well, now is the time for Annan to lead the UN, not pick up the crumbs left by the US as it finds itself exposed and totally vulnerable in Iraq. Why one wonders should the UN capitulate to the demands of this administration when it had made clear five months ago that it disagreed entirely with the Bush drive to destruction of a country that was no threat to the US and had no part in the disaster known as 9/11? Indeed, why should the UN consider a resolution from this administration when it was insulted and made a fool of five months ago when this administration pulled the second Iraq resolution knowing it would fail? That action made the US the UN, making it the determiner of international disorder and sole determiner of how to resolve that danger. Now is the time for the UN to assert its mandate to act on behalf of all member states, not be the lapdog of one. Now is the time for the UN to logically, and perhaps ironically, apply the Bush doctrine that asserts the irrelevancy of the UN unless it forces member states to comply with its resolutions, the argument Bush used to bring world wide condemnation on Iraq in his speech to the UN in September of 2002. Now is the time for the UN to pass a Resolution, I’d suggest number 1443 following the first and aborted second resolutions drawn up by the US to give it face as it groped its way to the invasion, condemning its rogue member state, the United States of America, for disregarding the UN Charter and International Law as it illegally invaded a state on false premises, for undertaking terrorist acts against the citizens of that state, for disregarding the provisions of the Geneva Protocols, for acts against humanity, and for supporting and promoting terrorism in selected nations like Israel, Pakistan, and India thus destabilizing the world community.
Consider the brazenness of the US in going back to the UN. The administration seeks to have the current debacle in Iraq transferred to UN shoulders. Here’s the wording of Powell’s resolution: ” transfer the US led military force in Iraq into a UN-authorized multinational force under a unified command.” This implicitly transfers acceptance for the invasion to the UN and, thereby, transfers the hatred of those attacking US forces to their new mercenaries. It likewise transfers the cost of the reconstruction, including rebuilding of structures already paid for by the UN and subsequently destroyed by the US, back to the UN. Yet the “unified command” remains under the control of the US generals and its puppet administrator, Mr. Bremmer. A deal like this the UN cannot turn down!
Having fallen victim to one of the most insidious military strategies ever devised, one that may be cautiously compared to that devised by the Russians when Napoleon, followed by Hitler, invaded Russia, the US watched incredulously as the armies of Saddam evaporated into the blinding sandstorms that accompanied the tanks on their way to Baghdad. Unhampered by an opposing army, snipped at the heals as the supply trucks lumbered behind, the US forces moved swiftly into the center of Iraq. With 150,000 troops spread across 167,000 square miles (or almost one soldier per square mile), a landmass the size of California, keeping tabs on 23 to 27 million people (or one soldier for every 180 Iraqis), the soldiers became sitting targets for snipers, hidden bombs, and occasional missiles. The ensuing water torture of daily deaths, the light of day realization that the devastation wrought from the skies far exceeded expectations, the hate engendered by US weapons of mass destruction on the innocent, and the infiltration of sympathizers for those under US occupation has finally brought home to our politicians the enormity of the cost of this ill-conceived war in both dollars and the lost good will of the world community. Now, then, is the time for the US Congress and the Senate, on behalf of the American people, to stop this administration from further terrorization of the world, to repudiate the administration’s National Security Strategy Report of September 2002, with its doctrines of pre-emptive strikes and imposed global dominance by this country, and to bring the perpetrators before the peoples’ court, by impeachment, to atone for their crimes against America and the world communities. That action should include all members of the Cabal responsible for this incredible debacle.
Concurrently with this action by our representatives would come the UN Resolution 1443 citing the United States for its unauthorized, illegal actions against the state of Iraq. In keeping with the spirit of the UN Preamble, the Security Council and the General Assembly would issue resolutions premised on the authority vested in that body “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,” and most especially, “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”
The UN can no longer act in fear and trepidation of the US. It is and must be the arbiter of justice and peaceful resolution of conflicts among and between nations. The US has realized now something that liberal thinkers have been pointing out for two years, the arrogance of the neo-cons and the stupidity of their stated goals can destroy America not bring it world dominance. A nation that spreads itself around the world, in 123 nations, that spends its wealth on state of the art weapons that can destroy hundreds and thousands at a shot, and that believes it alone knows truth and, therefore, is the determiner of good and evil for all peoples on the earth is a nation that cannot sustain that breadth of deployment, that can be defeated by stones and handguns and hand held missiles and determined human will, and that must come to the realization that truth and righteousness is elusive and varied. The peoples’ representatives finally understand as they watch in horror the scurrying roaches attempt to salvage their hides, that a nation can amass enormous power technologically having spent the peoples’ wealth to acquire it through the insatiable appetite of the military/industrial complex, and find itself less secure, isolated from the community of nations, and dead broke!
William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, was just published by Mellen Press. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU