Iraq and the UN

Iraq and the UN

While I was away, the UN headquarters in Baghdad was bombed and many people died. At the time, I had a certain feeling that somehow the US, and more specifically George W., was going to get blamed for it, even though the UN had refused the protection of US troops. There is nothing so predictable as the liberal playbook.

Here’s just one example from today’s Boston Globe. This op ed uses the UN bombing as the jumping off point for his whole diatribe against the US. And some of his points are just silly:

When the Security Council refused to give the United States carte blanche for both its war-making and its nation-building, the administration dismissed the United Nations and proceeded unilaterally. (The “coalition” is us. Our biggest and best ally, the British, have 11,000 troops in Iraq compared with our 150,000.)

For one thing, what the Security Council wanted to do was handcuff the US and put all kinds of conditions on how post-war Iraq would be reconstructed. And it was an attempt by France and Germany, our pre-war detractors and stumbling blocks, to glom on to the post-war victory, making sure that the contracts and debts they had from Saddam Hussein would still be honored.

Secondly, the coalition is not just us. There are more than 35 nations directly involved. Even if the UN peacekeepers were there in full force, no other nation would field as many troops. They couldn’t. We have the largest mobile army and the wherewithal to keep it deployed. There are no circumstances in which you could expect any presumed UN-back coalition would field as many troops as the US.

We’ve been there before and should know better, most recently in Afghanistan. We try to do it on the cheap and alone, stubbornly and churlishly.

Pardon me, but Afghanistan seems to be progressing nicely, don’t you think? Sure there are still some Taliban guerillas in the mountains, but there have been bandits and guerillas in the mountains of Afghanistan for centuries. That’s not going to change any time soon. Has fighting broken out among warlords? Have the Taliban reasserted themselves? Are there large-scale terrorist attacks? I think Afghanistan proves the administration’s plans work out just nicely, not the opposite, which is what the op ed writer was trying to prove.