Kofi Annan and the insanity of international law

Posted: Nov 17, 2004 12:00 AM

 It must be nice to be Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations.  You?re from Ghana, a country with an annual gross domestic product per capita of approximately $2,200, and yet you have a world-class educational background after attending college in Minnesota, graduate school in Geneva, and a Masters program at MIT.  You make $227,253 per year simply for blathering against the United States and Israel, and writing perturbed letters to homicidal dictators.  You get to pretend moral superiority while providing aid and comfort to terrorists.  Plus you get to eat in the finest restaurants in New York.
 Kofi Annan deserves all that because he has a busy job.  It?s not everyone who runs the most corrupt organization on the planet.  It?s a busy lifestyle.  This week, Annan had his hands full praising Yassar Arafat and condemning America.  After Arafat died, improving the world through his absence, Annan ordered UN flags lowered to half-staff to commemorate the terrorist leader.  ?By signing the Oslo accords in 1993 he took a giant step towards the realization of this vision,? Annan said in a statement delivered by a spokesman. ?It is tragic that he did not live to see it fulfilled.?

    Perhaps Mr. Annan forgot to look up the word ?tragic? in his dictionary before writing his statement.  Most people would probably consider the genocide in Rwanda, ignored by Kofi Annan, ?tragic.?  Most people would probably consider the continuing genocide perpetrated by Arab Muslims against black Christians in Sudan, ignored by Kofi Annan, ?tragic.?  And anyone with a smidgen of morality would consider suicide bombings against civilians in Israel ?tragic.?  No one but a savage would describe Arafat?s death as ?tragic.?

    After hailing a mass murderer as a hero, Annan?s UN turned to condemning true heroes: the American troops in Iraq waging a war against murderers and thugs.  In particular, the UN is complaining about alleged war crimes committed by US soldiers.  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, released a statement: ?The High Commissioner considers that all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be investigated and those responsible for breaches -- including deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields -- must be brought to justice, be they members of the Multinational Force or insurgents.?

    Moral equivalence is the hallmark of the United Nations.  Equating American troops with Arab terrorists is child?s play for an organization that places Sudan on the Human Rights Commission.  Listening to a human rights organization that includes Sudan lecturing American troops on war crimes is somewhat like listening to Ted Bundy lecturing Mother Teresa on acts of violence.

    Mr. Annan and his brethren do not rely on simple statements of moral equivalence.  They back them up by citing international law.  While Saddam Hussein slew thousands of his own people, supported terrorists throughout the Middle East, and routinely violated the terms of his 1991 cease-fire agreement, the United Nations did nothing except coquettishly lisp at him occasionally.  Yet when America invaded Iraq with the help of over 30 countries, Annan denounced the action as ?illegal.?  His latest charade?  He sent an angry letter to President Bush, Tony Blair, and Iyad Allawi complaining that the ?threat or actual use of force not only risks deepening the sense of alienation ? but would also reinforce perceptions ? of a continued military occupation.?

    That?s the beauty of international law: it means whatever Kofi Annan wants it to mean.  For some strange reason, many Americans buy into the concept of international law because it supposedly provides ?consensus.?  But consensus is no indication of whether a policy is worth following.  Anyone who believes American foreign policy should be bound by the imperious, faux-moralistic dictates of nations like France should be forced to contemplate the meaning of consensus morality from the middle of Saudi Arabia.  

    International law isn?t just foolish, it?s dangerous.  This week an American soldier shot an apparently unarmed, wounded Iraqi terrorist in a mosque in Fallujah after the terrorist pretended he was dead.  Only the day before, the soldier?s comrade had been killed by a dead, booby-trapped terrorist.  The UN will undoubtedly call for the American soldier?s head.  Meanwhile, Iraqi terrorists murdered aid worker Margaret Hassan.  The UN will undoubtedly call for restraint by American military forces.

    In April 2003, I wrote: ?international law consists of nice-sounding sentiments, which, when carried out, contradict basic moral sense.  International law might mean more deaths in Iraq than otherwise would have occurred.?  If Kofi Annan has his way, innocents and American troops will pay a terrible price.