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Why the United States Must Limit the United Nations' Role in Iraq

Political and Foreign Policy Commentary

By Kevin L. Martin

September marks the beginning of the political season in Washington DC and the Democratic Party has jumped at the chance to oppose President Bush and his handling of Iraq. The nine Democratic Presidential Candidates and their allies in Congress are calling upon President Bush to turn over authority in Iraq to the United Nations in return for a promise of an international coalition of peacekeepers to stabilize the country. President Bush and his advisors for their part have payed little heed to the unwanted advice of these Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans who are looking to play politics in an election year.

I commend President Bush for keeping a Kofi Annan led United Nations away from Iraq. The United Nations in charge of security in Iraq is like putting the criminal in charge of the jailhouse. All one has to do is look at the United Nations history of "nation building operations" to understand why we need to keep them as far away from Iraq as possible.

The first rumbling of the ineffectiveness that would dog the United Nations came in 1991 after the Soviet Union pulled the last of it troops out of Afghanistan. The United Nations tried to piece together a functioning central government made up of former warlords whose only binding tie was their mutual hatred of the Soviet invaders. From 1991-1996 the United Nations saw every central government in Afghanistan collapse due to infighting and civil war among the warlords. In 1996, when the Pakistan based Taliban overran 90% of Afghanistan and imposed strict Islamic law the United Nations was powerless to stop them. Instead, the U.N. simply refused to recognize the Talban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan; later this nation became a training and operations base for terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden.

In 1994, Kofi Annan, acting as Chief of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, refused to deploy any peacekeepers to the war ravaged African Nation of Rwanda. This failure lead to the needless death of over 800,000 people throughout the Rwanda and even more needless deaths in several UN sponsored "safe havens."

In the wake of the genocide in Rwanda the United Nations attempted to set up a tribunal that would charge and jails the criminals responsible for the worst genocide since World War II. But the United Nations proved to be its own worst enemy in this role because most of those who were responsible for bringing these criminals to justice where guilty of taking part in the genocide themselves.

After three years of ongoing civil war that left nearly 250,000 persons on all sides dead, heavily armed units of the paramilitary Bosnia Serb Forces swept into parts of Bosnia to tighten their grip on the fledgling nation. The United Nations set up a safe haven in Srebrenica on premise of protection Bosnia Muslims from Serb Forces, stood idly by as Serb Forces overran Srebrenica and openly executed nearly 7000 Muslim men and boys. The United States and it Western Allies used NATO to finally put an end to the Serbian sponsored genocide in 1995.

In 1998 NATO, once again intervened to stop Serbian Aggression in the southern Serbian Province of Kosovo that was leading to the mass expulsion of 800,000 people on all sides in the breakaway province. The United Nations was put in charge of rebuilding the province after NATO ended offensive military operations and shifted to peacekeeping. The United Nations has failed at the stopping the continued expulsion of Serbian Residents by the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and of the province's 200,000 pre-NATO population only 20,000 remain in heavily armored enclaves along the boarder with Serbia.

In the 12 years that United Nations has been in Iraq it has failed to account for all of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction as Iraqi leaders were ordered to do so under the terms that ended the Gulf War. The inspection process was so tainted that Western Nations inserted agents among the inspectors as United Nations Officials allowed for their teams to be bullied and spied upon by agents of Saddam Hussein's Government.

We saw the United Nations Food for Oil Program become a joke, as United Nations Officials could not account for monies from oil sales and food and medicines went to Iraqi government officials and the military, not the Iraqi people it was suppose to benefit.

After 17 United Nations Resolutions, the removal of weapons inspectors and daily bombing of air defenses in the former Northern and Southern No-Fly Zones, President Bush sought to bring Iraq into complaisance with the terms of the first Gulf War on its Weapons of Mass Destruction Program. United Nations officials along with like minded nations of France, Germany, Russia, and China (who all had national interest in Iraq) sought to handcuff any real inspection operations and sought to have the United Nations Security Council cave in to any demands sought by Iraq. Even when caught red handed trading in banned materials, these same nations repeatedly demand another resolution over military action.

United States Forces, along with military forces of the United Kingdom and Australia, finally drove Hussein and the Ba'th Party from power. But like any group of trouble-makers they sought to scare the population into believing that after the coalition departed Iraq they would surely return to power.

United States Officials have sought to add nations to the coalition in Iraq in an effort to stabilize the country and while the United States seeks a real coalition, the now deflated United Nations is now seeking to be a power broker by demanding that the United States gives up some of its authority in Iraq for a United Nations brokered coalition of nations. President Bush should be commended for taking the actions that the United Nations would not.

President Bush should do his best to limit the role of the United Nations in Iraq to a role of simply supporting the coalition efforts because the United Nations has such a terrible track record of nation building under the reign of Kofi Annan.


Kevin L. Martin is an Advisor and Member of Project 21. He has served as the former Government and Political Affairs Director to the African American Republicans Leadership Council. He has appeared as a political commentator on FOX News.
View a photo of Mr. Martin.

More Op Eds by Kevin L. Martin

Posted by Douglas Oliver on September 3, 2003 at 8:50 PM