09/28/04 — Dreams lost: The great promises of the U.N. go unfulfilled

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Dreams lost: The great promises of the U.N. go unfulfilled

The United Nations appears to be on course to deliver to mankind the greatest betrayal in history.

It was chartered with the highest of ideals: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” ... “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person” ... “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom ...”

Now, after 59 years, the U.N. has become an impotent wimp that seems to have lost its desire to keep peace or to perform many of the other humane functions that were the dreams of its founders.

It has stood idly by for years as slavery flourished in Sudan, and it is not lifting a finger to stop the genocide that is under way there now. It has looked the other way as hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in tribal warfare elsewhere in Africa.

It refuses — as President Bush pointed out to the U.N. General Assembly last week — to take action against North Korea and Iran to ensure that they do not succeed in building nuclear weapons. If these outlaw nations are successful, there is great danger that they would inflict pain and horror upon millions of innocent men, women and children.

The U.N. failed to enforce its own decrees against Iraq after a coalition of nations drove dictator Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait, which they had invaded. When Saddam violated a peace agreement by refusing to allow U.N. weapons inspectors into his country, the U.N. did nothing, even though the best intelligence from several nations indicated that Saddam was obtaining or preparing to build horrific offensive weapons.

Some U.N. member nations were benefiting from oil taken surreptitiously from Iraq while sanctions were in effect. Some individuals — including, possibly, high U.N. officials or their families — were lining their pockets through an Oil for Food program that had been intended to help feed the hungry in Iraq during the sanctions.

The United States, having been attacked by extremist Muslim terrorists, led a coalition that during a short war deposed Saddam’s government and captured him. Then it fell victim to guerrilla insurgents.

An interim prime minister was seated to take over Iraq’s government, but U.S. soldiers, helping to restore stability, are being shot and bombed by terrorist thugs. Civilians are being kidnapped and beheaded by self-righteous savages. As all this is happening — all because the United Nations refuses to do its duty — the leader of the U.N., Kofi Annan, charges that the war was “illegal” because the U.N. had not authorized it.

Thus, after failing to enforce 17 of its resolutions that Saddam chose capriciously to defy, Annan joined in league with the insurgents who are murdering soldiers and civilians. The timing of his comments could not have been better planned to encourage the continuation of the carnage in Iraq.

It also could not have been better planned to influence the presidential election in the United States. The war and this country’s relationship with the United Nations are important issues in the campaign.

American taxpayers provide 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular budget and 27 percent of its peacekeeping budget, about $3 billion a year. Each year, it seems, we get less for that.

Unless more visionary, wiser leadership gets control of the U.N., history will repeat itself. The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, which was formed just after World War I to prevent further wars. It disbanded because it failed to prevent World War II. The United Nations was formed just after World War II for similar purposes. It, too, may eventually go out of business for ineffectiveness.

Many Americans, although holding the United Nations’ original purposes in the highest esteem, will say good riddance.

Published in Editorials on September 28, 2004 11:15 AM