WASHINGTON -- In 1982, Robin Williams and Glenn Close starred in a quirky R-rated movie entitled "The World According to Garp." The offbeat comedy -- honest, that's what Tinseltown critics called it -- was loosely based on John Irving's dark novel with the same title. Those who missed the humor in the book and film now have a chance for some real belly laughs. Next week the Big Apple will host another gut buster -- "The World According to UNGA." If it were a flick, it would be a dark and depressing documentary combining the conspiratorial rantings of Oliver Stone, the eerie horror of Alfred Hitchcock and the antics of a Looney Tunes cartoon.
But it's not a movie or an off-Broadway show. And it isn't a television program that will simply go away with the press of a button on your remote. Instead, it's an annual extravaganza which We the People have subsidized with billions of our tax dollars for six decades. It could be called -- with apologies to Barnum & Bailey -- the Most Ridiculous Show on Earth. But next week it will be called UNGA -- short for the United Nations General Assembly.
This year's UNGA circus has new ringleader -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Ban is the newest member of an all-male pantheon of propriety that includes the irrepressibly anti-American Kofi Annan, who presided over the graft and corruption of the U.N.'s Oil for Food program to fill Saddam Hussein's coffers with cash. The UNGA Hall of Fame also includes luminaries such as Boutros Boutros-Ghali -- a man nice enough to have two first names but too inept to call the murder of a million Rwandans what it was: genocide. And then there's Kurt Waldheim -- the two-term U.N. Secretary-General who falsified his resume by omitting to mention his knowledge of war crimes committed by Hitler's henchmen in the Balkans during World War II. That's all part of the World According to UNGA.
In the World According to UNGA, Libya -- long listed as a state sponsor of terrorism -- is put in charge of the Human Rights Commission, now "reformed" into the Human Rights Council.
In the World According to UNGA, the only bad nuclear weapons are those possessed by the Great Satan and the Little Satan -- otherwise known as the Americans and the Jews -- and Iran, racing to build nuclear weapons so it can wipe Israel off the map, is put in a leadership position at the U.N .Disarmament Commission.
In the World According to UNGA, North Korea -- whose government has given new definition to the phrase repressive malnourishment -- is named to the executive board of UNICEF, whose mission is, in part, to feed hungry children.
In the World According to UNGA, men such as former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton are castigated for demanding an end to corruption and failing to play nice -- but Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is applauded before a worldwide audience when he calls the president of the United States "the devil."
In the World According to UNGA, Zimbabwe -- led by President for Life Robert Mugabe -- is put in charge of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, even though Mugabe's idea of sustainable development is seizing the property of white families and turning productive farms into wastelands while his people starve.
In the World According to UNGA, blue-helmeted peacekeepers rape women and children with impunity; humanitarian relief programs become the piggybanks for diplomats, politicians and thugs, and dictators and terrorists are given a global platform for America bashing. But then, this is, after all, the place where, in 1960, Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR interrupted the proceedings by banging on the podium with his fists and a shoe. It's the kind of place that Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, could feel comfortable demanding the demise of Israel while wearing a sidearm. And it's the place where despots such as Idi Amin are welcome to lecture the world on the evils of colonialism -- while his minions are committing mass murder.
Next week, President Bush will make a cameo appearance in the World According to UNGA. According to the White House, he will once again call for the world body to unite in helping stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He'll ask the assembled potentates to come to the aid of the struggling democracy in Iraq and to fulfill their promises to the people of Afghanistan. He'll again challenge the U.N. to make good on ethical reforms and financial transparency. And, as before, his appeals will fall on deaf ears.
And then, just hours later, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will stand at the same platform to deny the obvious -- that his government is a state sponsor of radical Islamic terror and that his scientists are in the process of building nuclear weapons. Though the United States contributes nearly 20 times more than Iran to the operations of the U.N., Ahmadinejad will be treated as America's equal. Those of us who think such treatment is unfair will just have to lump it. That's just the way it is in the World According to UNGA.