U.N. -- The un-coalition

Posted: Apr 14, 2003 12:00 AM

Two weeks into the Iraq war, naysayers complained that the invasion was going too slow. War planning was flawed. There weren't enough troops. Where were the cheering Iraqis? Why wasn't there more "shock and awe" in "shock and awe?"

Then the regime imploded, Saddam Hussein's statues tumbled. As warfront successes mounted, the Carp-at-Bush Patrol needed to find some deficiency, real or perceived, to keep the news from being too good. Before victory was declared, the constant critics had started lamenting how the Bush administration is botching reconstruction.

The do-gooders' big fears are: 1) that the Defense Department, which has prosecuted the war in Iraq so successfully, will be too involved in Iraq's reconstruction, and 2) the United Nations won't have a big enough role.

Yes, I know, the United Nations does good deeds for sick children in Third World countries. But the United Nations doesn't exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to Iraq and post-conflict reconstruction.

The U.N. Security Council allowed Hussein essentially to chase weapons inspectors out of Iraq in 1998.

The United Nations oversaw the Oil for Food program that allowed Hussein to siphon off funds meant to feed his people. Despite more than 250 U.N. workers overseeing the program at various times, Hussein still managed to funnel Food for Oil money into his propaganda and palaces.

In Israel, posters of suicide bombers have popped up in U.N. Relief and Works Agency schools for Palestinian refugees.

Recently, a spokesperson for the U.N. Mission in Kosovo announced that four-hours-with and two-hours-without electricity will be the standard situation for an undetermined time -- this is after the United Nation has spent four years rebuilding Kosovo, well, in its own fashion.

I'll add that eating is what you might call a time-sensitive activity. I question whether a group that equates "final opportunity" with months and months of extensions should be entrusted with delivering food to people who are hungry right now. "Pronto" is not the United Nations' motto.

Why are people on the left pushing for the United Nations to get involved?

Mayhaps there's a conceit at play here: Methinks the U.N. lovers are more interested in the romantic notion of having people like them (intellectuals, not buzz cuts) delivering aid than they are in watching people who follow orders and carry rifles actually deliver huge quantities of food to the bodies in need of it. If my children were hungry, I'd rather rely on the U.S. military.

Yes, they're champing at the bit to get the United Nations in charge. But you have to wonder: Is their big fear the Iraqi people going without, or military types basking in any humanitarian glory?