“If you lay down a resolution,‚?Ě asked President Bush, “does it mean anything?‚?Ě
At the Mayport Naval Air Station in Florida, on Feb. 13, Bush said that if the United Nations did not enforce its own resolutions on disarming Iraq it would “fade into history as an ineffective irrelevant, debating society.‚?Ě
Yet, as U.S., British and Australian forces enter the second week of their campaign to enforce the resolutions that the UN wouldn’t, there was still debate in Washington, D.C. on whether the UN should be given a role in administering post-war Iraq. In a House subcommittee, Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed to rule out giving the UN the lead role. “We would not support . . .essentially handing everything over to the UN-for someone designated by the UN to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation,‚?Ě he said. But Powell did not specify what the UN would be allowed to do.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the UN would not be relegated to a merely humanitarian role. “It is important that whatever administration takes over in Iraq, that it has the authority of the UN behind it,‚?Ě he said.
HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor David Freddoso went to the Senate to see if Republicans would treat the U.N. as an “irrelevant debating society‚?Ě-or give it a role in post-war Iraq.
Before we went into Iraq, President Bush said that if the United Nations doesn’t enforce its own resolutions, it risks becoming an irrelevant debating society. Well, they didn’t enforce them. Have they become an irrelevant debating society? And specifically, should the U.S. defer to the UN when it comes to administering post-war Iraq?
SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R.-MINN.): First, I think they are in danger of becoming an irrelevant debating society. And I think that’s unfortunate. The reality is that in Iraq, we have a broad international coalition-a very broad international coalition-but the United Nations chose not to be a part of that. If not for its structure, and France’s obstinacy, I think the results may have been different. So I don’t rule out working with the UN. And that really goes to the second part of your question. I don’t think you can rule them out of that role. In fact, they may be an important part of post-Saddam Iraq. . . . On the other hand, maybe their role will be, when things are done, to simply be a relief agency.
Before we invaded Iraq, President Bush said that if the United Nations doesn’t enforce its own resolutions, it risks becoming an irrelevant debating society. . . .Should the U.S. defer to them, or give them any say in the administration of post-war Iraq?
SEN. MIKE DEWINE (R.-OHIO): Well, I think we’re going to have to wait until the war is over before we make any kind of determination like that. The United Nations did not live up to its own resolution, and it’s a great disappointment. . . . But as far as any future role of the United Nations, I think we’ll have to wait until the war is over and make that judgement then.
But Senator, what’s your sense of it? As the time for making that judgement approaches, where do you feel you are going to weigh in in that debate?
DEWINE: Well, I don’t think we’re even close to that. I think we have to wait until the war is over. The United States is going to have to make that decision in our best interests and what we think is the best interest of the people of Iraq. But we’re not there now. I think we have to focus on winning the war, and make Iraq a place where it is safe to develop a democratic country. That has to be the goal now.
Has the UN become an irrelevant debating society? And specifically, should the U.S. defer to the UN when it comes to administering post-war Iraq?
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R.-N.M.): Well, look. They made this whole thing very difficult, if not impossible. And I believe that in the end, we were right and they were wrong. But I’m not going to stand here today and say that they are gone, that they will disappear. But they’ve got a long way to go, in my opinion, to coming back to some kind of relevancy. And from the practical standpoint of, who put forth all the muscle and the resources, the blood, the money to get rid of this despot and give this country back to its people-they didn’t, we did-I don’t think it’s just automatic that because they are the normal entity that ought to take over and run these programs, that that ought to be the case.
Is the UN an irrelevant debating society?
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R.-MISS.): I think right now, that’s basically what it is, an irrelevant debating society. America cannot afford, after the spectacle that we saw, to put our security in the hands of a Security Council where countries like France and Germany undermine us-particularly the way France did-or where we’re at the mercy of Cameroon or some other country around the world. They messed around with Iraq for twelve years, they never enforced it. I really think it’s time we go back and take another look at the United Nations’ value.
Senator, should the U.S. defer to the UN in any way in administering post-war Iraq?
LOTT: I wouldn’t think so. We couldn’t get them to join us when we took off, and I don’t think we ought to let them in on the landing. If countries want to be involved in a helpful way, fine. But when the French show up and say, “Hey, we want our thirty percent of the Iraqi oil,‚?Ě I think we ought to say, “Tsk, we’ll check on you later.‚?Ě No, we shouldn’t defer to them. We’re having to do the heavy lifting. And we’re not going to defer to them now. We will be looking for people to care for humanitarian reasons. And that’s the only thing the United Nations seems to be able to do, is to spend our money for humanitarian reasons.
Is the UN now an irrelevant debating society? And specifically, should the U.S. defer to the UN when it comes to administering post-war Iraq?
SEN. DON NICKLES (R.-OKLA.): I think the UN has lost a lot of credibility. They’ve passed 17 resolutions, and they would never-at the end, because of the misguided French leadership-they wouldn’t enforce the resolutions they’ve repeatedly passed. I think that undermines their credibility. Possibly in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq they may be able to regain some of it. I’ll stop right there.
Is the UN now an irrelevant debating society?
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R.-PENN.): They certainly are. The President is correct. I think they are very much on the edge of irrelevancy at this point, and I think you are going to see that continue with the post-war reconstruction. Given already the designs of the French, I hope we don’t have any desire to go back to them.
That’s my next question-should we defer to them, get any kind of resolution at all, regarding the fate of post-war Iraq?
SANTORUM: No. The fact is, the United Nations is seeking irrelevancy. And the old line is, when your enemy is in the process of committing suicide, don’t get in his way.
Has the UN become an irrelevant debating society? Or specifically, should the U.S. defer to the UN when it comes to administering post-war Iraq?
SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH (R.-OHIO): The people who should administer Iraq are the coalition of the willing, the people who have agreed to help us offset the costs of this war and become part of the reconstruction of Iraq, and that we ought not to put it in the hands of the United Nations to run the books, as the Saudis have suggested. . .And let us move quickly without even going to the debating society to get their permission to do this or do that. We ought to be in control, and I think we ought, in going forward with what we’re doing, to show how we are humanitarians. Our character will shine through, so that anyone who deals with us will know that we’re not there to steal the oil or take advantage of anybody.