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U.N.: Butt out!

By Henry Lamb
web posted December 22, 2003

U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, wasted no time condemning the United States for restricting Iraq reconstruction contracts to coalition participants. Within hours after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Annan was again in front of the cameras declaring that the U.N. would not recognize any judicial proceedings that included the possibility of capital punishment.

Mr. Annan: sit down and shut up; you have no say in this matter.

Hoshyar Zebari at the U.N. on December 16
Zebari at the U.N. on December 16

In a blistering speech to the U.N. Security Council, Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said:

"The United Nations as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years, and today we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure."

Bush-bashers who condemn the president for not getting the U.N.'s "permission" as Howard Dean puts it should also find another song to sing. The U.N. has demonstrated its inability, or unwillingness, to do what needed to be done in Iraq. The U.N. blew its last chance to be relevant.

The United States has demonstrated that U.N. approval is not necessary to achieve international cooperation. More than sixty nations are participating to the extent they can, in the liberation and reconstruction of Iraq. The U.N. sanctioned coalition for the first Persian Gulf war consisted of only 34 nations, that contributed only 24 percent of the troops. And it should be noted, that it was the U.N. that explicitly prohibited this coalition from entering Baghdad and ending Saddam's regime, the first time.

The United States has launched a new, historic, initiative: world peace through global freedom. No group of elite intellectuals met to deliberately devise this strategy, as did the fathers of the U.N., when they designed the "world peace through world law" initiative. In fact, the new initiative is not a design, it is an accident, resulting from the realization that the world's best hope for peace and prosperity must be constructed on the principles of freedom.

Afghanistan and Iraq are the first experiments, again, not by design, but by necessity. These nations represented a clear and present danger to the United States, a danger which had to be removed. When the United Nations displayed its impotence, the United States did what had to be done, and much more.

The United States could have simply destroyed both nations, and brought the troops home. It would have taken years for either of these nations to rebuild and reorganize another serious threat. Because we are Americans, we could no more leave these nations in ruins, than those nations we defeated in World War II. It is our nature to help make life better for those around us, even those who have opposed us in the past.

Rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan will be much more difficult than rebuilding Japan and Germany. The bricks and mortar are not the problem; introducing the principles of freedom is a staggering problem. In a culture that has been taught for generations to hate the American Satan, people will be very reluctant to embrace our ideas about freedom and self-governance. Only persistence and determination will eventually demonstrate that our goal is to help these people discover that they too, can escape the bonds of dictatorial tyranny.

As freedom begins to take root in the Middle East, and its benefits begin to improve living conditions and inspire hope for the future, warlords and would-be tyrants will begin to lose their grip on communities and nations. Freedom, once known, is a powerful force that cannot be easily extinguished. Freedom is contagious, and can create its own global design.

The United Nations has never been about freedom; it has been about creating a world government with the power to prevent war by controlling the means of making war, and by managing the affairs of all people. This utopian vision ignores a fundamental, self-evident truth so eloquently expressed by Thomas Jefferson, that all men are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The vision held by the United States is far more noble: to help the people of Afghanistan and Iraq create their own governments, empowered by the consent of the people, to secure this right for themselves.

It's time to move beyond the United Nations, and embrace this new initiative for global freedom. America must lead the way, and every American has the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to embrace and support this effort to help the people of Afghanistan and Iraq discover the gift of freedom provided by their Creator, but denied to them by the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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