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November 4, 2003

UNbelievable, UNimaginable, UNinspiring

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

The United Nations (U.N.) has announced their intention to withdraw personnel from Iraq in light of serious security concerns.

Sounds logical, huh? If the media release had ended there, this bit of information would have passed this reader with no need for further introspection.

As it was, though, the news didn't end there. The media release also included reference to concerns over the U.S. approach to the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq.

I expect some criticism of the decision to use force based on the threat of weapons of mass destruction. I can even understand frustration over whether or not a direct al Qaeda connection to Saddam Hussein ever existed.

The fact that never seemed debatable was whether the Iraqi people would be better off freed from Saddam's deadly rule. In sheer numbers, Saddam's decision to withhold food and medical supplies killed more women and children than the "shock and awe" campaign by the U.S. Military killed Iraqi soldiers.

I won't even bother to remind you about the Shiite massacres in the south or the Kurdish atrocities in the north. Saddam and his butchers mastered the art of compliance through execution.

No one should be surprised that many of the U.N. member nations that objected to direct military intervention in Iraq now appear in David Kay's post-invasion analysis of Saddam's military re-building efforts.

France, Germany, Russia and Italy all stood ready to reap the financial rewards of a thriving business development effort focused on investment in the Iraqi military.

Some of you might dismiss that dichotomy as "business as usual." The conflict between legitimate, principled decisions and profit motives seems important to me, but maybe not anyone else.

My confusion centers on how the U.N. can be judged as an "honest broker" in determining how to design and implement a new democratic government.

Some of the world's bloodiest and most regrettable governmental models occupy seats in the U.N. Cuba, Iran, Syria, China, and Viet Nam have NO legitimate basis upon which to offer opinion regarding the building of a democratic government. Whether you think the Bush Administration is right, wrong, or somewhere in the middle regarding the Iraq policy, how can anyone argue that U.N. input on establishing a democracy has any legitimacy? The latest news from Ambassador Paul Bremer is that a draft constitution will soon be ready for review by the full interim Iraqi government. Following that review, the constitution will be taken to the Iraqi people for THEIR vote. Wonder how long it will be before the Chinese version of a democratic constitution will be ready for their consideration? Wonder if Fidel will be drafting a version of a democratically elected Cuban government anytime soon?

Syria’s harboring of terrorist organizations probably takes too much time from any effort to create a democratic government.

If the French or Russians expect to have credibility on the Iraq question, they'll need to prove that their concerns have more to do with a free Iraq than they do with contracts for equipment and infrastructure.

No doubt about the fact that the Bush Administration could have done a more thorough job of vetting the intelligence. A legitimate argument could be made that the invasion might have been delayed or limited to surgical strikes.

What fails the stink test is when U.N. member nations that foster murder, terror, torture, and a disregard for the principles of freedom opine about how the U.S. goes about the creation of a fledgling democracy.

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