Oliver North
ATLANTA -- "There is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations," Secretary-General Kofi Annan falsely declared this week in a deluded diatribe to the U.N. General Assembly. Annan's speech was a desperate attempt to regain the relevancy that he lost since Bill Clinton, who took his marching orders from the U.N., left office. Kofi Annan and his foreign policy machinations enjoyed the attention of the world press at a time in history when the Oval Office occupant was otherwise distracted by interns and depositions. But that era is long gone, as President George W. Bush amply demonstrated this week. So let me offer a few alternatives to the "Kofi Doctrine," which states that U.N. "legitimacy" has "no substitute." First: the U.S. Constitution, which entrusts the Congress -- not Annan's Security Council -- with the authority to commit American troops to war to defend U.S. interests. Second: the American military, which enforces U.N. resolutions and compels dictators like Saddam Hussein to comply with them. Third: President George W. Bush. There is only one word that can describe the president's actions this week -- leadership. Bush had long ago made up his mind that the curtain must come down on Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in Iraq. His flouting of weapons inspectors, accumulation of weapons of mass destruction, and desire to harbor and defend terrorists are too great a risk, and the U.N. had allowed these "dangers to gather" for too long. It was time to act. Bush's decisive leadership stood in stark contrast to Kofi Annan, who boasts that he has "used his good offices in several delicate political situations," including "an attempt in 1998 to gain Iraq's compliance with Security Council resolutions." But what has Annan's "delicacy" toward Saddam accomplished? Since 1990, the U.N. Security Council has passed no fewer than 23 resolutions condemning Iraq's military aggression, development of chemical and biological weapons, and refusal to permit inspections, all of which Saddam ignored. Bush concluded that if pious exhortations and Security Council resolutions were effective, there would be no need for the United States to return to Iraq. The critics, however, were plentiful. Only Britain's Tony Blair stood at the president's side at Camp David, while his European brethren squawked from afar. "I am totally against unilateralism in the modern world," sniffed French president Jacques Chirac. Across the Rhine, chancellor Gerhard Schroeder warned that Germany will not "click its heels" and follow the United States into an "adventure" in Iraq. Vladimir Putin, chiming in from Moscow, expressed "serious doubts" about U.S. military action, and Nelson Mandela offered that the United States should not "be allowed to take the law into their own hands." Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran from the Vatican advised the United States to recognize that "the law of the jungle" cannot be imposed in Iraq. Back in Washington, as one might expect, congressional Democrats were watching Kofi Annan's back. Before holding Iraq accountable, "I would hope (Bush) would get a Security Council vote of approval," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joe Biden warned Bush to watch what he said because the "very legitimacy of (the United Nations) is at stake." Bill Clinton warned Bush that the time is not right to confront Saddam, even though "there is no question he has significant stocks of chemical and biological agents ... (and) he'll do everything he can to use them." Instead, Clinton suggested, President Bush's foreign policy goal should be to "turn the world into a global community." But by week's end, the tide began to turn. Sen. John McCain pressured Daschle to schedule a vote in support of the president before Congress recesses next month. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott warned that "we should not wait for the United Nations to act." Former Democrat Sen. Bob Kerrey wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the case for "a military effort designed to replace (Saddam) 'is overwhelming.'" American allies were also voicing their support. "Sometimes in order to maintain peace, armed action is necessary," said Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Jan Petersen, the foreign minister of Norway, said Bush's speech "challenged us to (live) up to our responsibilities." The foreign minster of Romania bluntly stated, "We support the United States." Portuguese Foreign Minister Antonio Martins da Cruz chastised his European friends, saying, "We believe it is a mistake what some allies are doing -- blaming the United States. We need to blame Iraq." Denmark's representative said the United States doesn't need to wait for another U.N. resolution before confronting Saddam, and Spain and France were showing signs of support, as well. Even Kofi Annan, in his speech to the General Assembly, signaled his desire not to be left out in the cold. International security, Kofi stated, depends on the Security Council's "political will to act ... even when agreement seems elusive at the outset." The president does not need the permission of the U.N. to defend the United States of America and rid the world of a terrorist dictator. It is a concept that Bill Clinton never understood and which Kofi Annan, despite his objections, is beginning to grasp. This week, George W. Bush showed that there is a substitute to the Kofi Doctrine -- it is called American leadership. And when true and legitimate leadership is offered to a noble cause, the world will embrace it, as they are already beginning to show.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.