UN Out of Baghdad

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MSNBC reports:

The United Nations is temporarily pulling its staff out of Baghdad while it evaluates the security situation, but U.N. workers will remain in northern Iraq, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Fyodor,

    I have a feeling that the founders of the UN never really expected that one day all those pesky black, brown and yellow people would actually show up and DEMAND something.

  2. Manchuria was a lawless chaos. Japanese citizens doing business there were in danger, and the territory was of interest to Japan from a security standpoint. In other words, the grounds for Japanese intervention were similar to those on which the U.S. has repeatedly intervened in the Caribbean and Central America.

  3. this is for Joe, who wrote “bringing allies on board early makes our fight their fight, and keeps them from bugging out when things get tough. As things stand, a failure in Iraq won’t undermine the UN; in fact, it will validate its opposition to the war.” We DID try to bring the UN in early. Joe, you can’t rewrite history that occured 9 months ago cuz I REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED. Recall that a condition of the end of the gulf war was saddam agreeing to a bunch of concessions, and htere was a UN security council resolution about what he had to do. He violated that resolution and many others like it in the interim between GUlf War I and II. Then under strong US leadership, the UNSC approved resolution 1441, saying let the inspectors in, disarm now or else serious consequences. Saddam thwarted the inspectors time and again, and violated 1441. And recall that for us to get inspectors back in, we had a shitload of troops ready to go, so it was only our “unilateralism” that even led to UN success vis a vis Saddam. Then, after SAddam breaks 1441, W sends Colin back to the UN to ask for a resolution authorizing war. In other words, asking the UN: do you mean what you say? are your resolutions, supposed binding resolutions from the SECURITY council, worth the paper they’re written on? France said “no, they are worthless. moreover, we are worthless, b/c we are going to not only withhold our support from a war resolution, we will also arrogantly VETO a war resolution that you propose. but hey, we’re still close friends.” So Joe, and all likeminded others, W did do A LOT to get the UN involved, but the UN showed it is not the place to expect international coalitions that meana nything to the security of the world. There was a window of time for the UN to mean something. After the USSR disbanded in ’91, thereby removing the ruskies automatic veto on the security council, we hoped for “a new world order” where the coalitionof the world could stop aggressive dictators. It seemed to work in the first gulf war. Now we know that “allies” like France make it not work. And W saw the writing on the wall anda cted accordingly, wiht bold leadership. It is a mystery to me why the dems think turning Iraq over to the UN will help. UN runs at first sign of trouble. UN has no credibility wiht the Iraqi people cuz (a) sanctions and (b) how kofi cozied up to Saddam.

    Abu is out

  4. “Now all we need to do is get the U.S. out of the U.N and the U.N. out of the U.S.”

    My dream: we kick the UN out of New York (they can set up in Paris) and use the building as a mall filled with head shops, gun dealers, and porn boutiques

  5. “We DID try to bring the UN in early.”

    Bull. Bush made a half-assed effort, one specifically designed to fail, so that our subsequent UN-free success could prove, once and for all, that we don’t need to stinking badges. Which hasn’t exactly worked out. At the end, France was floating a beefed up inspections program, with a deadline beyond which military force would be used.

    Bringing allies on board means working with them as equal partners, so that the decisions and responsibilities lie with them, equally. It does mean saying “my way or the highway” whenever there is a disagreement about how to proceed. If you think Shrub made a good faith effort, a la his dad, to genuinely engage the UN, you are a monumental sucker.

    But it’s good to know you can regurgitate the FoxNews line on command.

  6. I think of the UN as a pretty benign entity.

    They do some OK humanitarian projects in the third world. Not always spectacular, but no worse than any other gov’t funded projects.

    They provide a place where people talk, and most of the talk is pointless, some is even odious, but every now and then something might come out of it.

    They propose various rules that countries either adopt or ignore. Where/when those rules are adopted, people get to rail against the UN instead of recognizing that their nation’s politicians were the ones who decided to institute those rules, and those politicians are the real villains.

    They provide a great outlet for people who need to feel convinced that there’s an international conspiracy to take over their country.

    Overall, a fairly benign organization. As a matter of principle it might not be ideal for us to be part of it, but it’s fairly low on my list of things to worry about.

    Besides, once the nutjobs don’t have UN black helicopters to fear, what’s to say they won’t decide that their neighbors are the evil ones to be dealt with? Let’s keep the nutjobs focused on the UN so they leave the rest of us alone.

  7. Actually, Thoreau, one has to wonder why the nujobs worry about the UN, given that body’s record of not being able to really accomplish anything grander that sitting around and yelling at each other.

    The UN is more of a waste of time and parking space than a real threat to anyone.

  8. France was floating a beefed up inspections program, with a deadline beyond which military force would be used

    Incorrect. France promised a veto if the resolution contained either a deadline and/or a written promise of military action. All they would accept was, in effect, a strong resolution of censure, or maybe just a photocopy of 1441. And hey, why not, “censure” worked for Israel, right? Look at those Palestinian refugees floodin home…um…yeah.

    Bringing allies on board means working with them as equal partners

    What are you smoking? Equal partnerships are not prerequisite to alliances. The least that is required is a common enemy. The rest is optional.

    “my way or the highway” whenever there is a disagreement about how to proceed

    You mean, like France’s veto promise?

  9. “France promised a veto if the resolution contained either a deadline and/or a written promise of military action.”

    Right. They wanted another vote to invade if the inspections failed, rather than an automatic trigger. The fact that Bush considered this a deal-breaker demonstrates how shallow his desire to gain UN backing really was.

  10. Whether or not one likes the UN as an institution, no one has the right to expect that it leave its people in Baghdad to get murdered. It’s already gotten it’s special envoy and 22 others blown to bits.

    On a separate note, the current violence in Iraq is the direct result of what was essentially unilateral US action (with help from UK), and the US shouldn’t expect others to line up to sacrifice for the successful completion of its mission, regardless of whether it feels that it is in everyone’s best interest.

  11. The UN was created by Anglos after all those Franco’s and German’s went and butchered half the continent twice in 30 years. Maybe if you kids over there could’ve learned to behave you wouldn’t have all these problems with the big bad USA.

  12. Pinhas makes a good libertarian point:

    the current violence in Iraq is the direct result of what was essentially unilateral US action (with help from UK), and the US shouldn’t expect others to line up to sacrifice for the successful completion of its mission, regardless of whether it feels that it is in everyone’s best interest.

    Those nations that didn’t agree to participate in this action have no obligation to help pay for it.

    I know, they said in the UN a while back that they would agree and join up if it was done on their terms. But we rejected their terms (and perhaps that was for the best, or perhaps not). In the absence of a deal, they can walk away and say “none of our concern.” Unless a country made a specific committment to pay, it’s pretty ridiculous for us to expect them to pay. Some of the countries in the “coalition of the willing” might have obligations to pay, and they can use the bribe money we gave them…

  13. Right. They wanted another vote to invade if the inspections failed, rather than an automatic trigger. The fact that Bush considered this a deal-breaker demonstrates how shallow his desire to gain UN backing really was.

    Or maybe it demonstrated that somebody actually took the phrase “serious consequences” to mean something more compelling than France wagging their finger.

  14. There is a strong case that the UN has failed to prevent aggressive war. The UN was not able to stop the United States from pre-emptively attacking Iraq – a clear violation of international law that predates the UN as well as the League of Nations.
    But perhaps giving UN inspectors more time – as Bush has asked for more time for David Kay’s group – would have produced the information we have now on the non-existant WMDs.
    We should get out of the United Nations. But we should also respectfully consult with the industrialized nations of Europe about how to deal with the real issues of weapons proliferation.
    A President who is trying to prove he is Top Gun has been a recipe for disaster, and blaming France or the misguided Democrats is not going to save Bush’s mad policy.

  15. Judging by their subsequent actions, I’d say it doesn’t mean what you’d like it to mean, either. But then, since when have libertarians been sticklers about original intent?

  16. Joe and rst are arguing across an abyss. Personally I see no evidence that Bush wanted his UN initiatives to fail. Most likely he would have loved to have the UN on board. But at the same time, he had obviously made up his mind beforehand and nothing the UN was going to do or not do was going to make a difference in the end result. The rest was just jockeying for position.

  17. I just wanted to repeat the most useful thread which is to get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US.
    The new headquarters for the UN could be in Zimbabwe, Damascus, Pyongyang, Antarctica?

    I’m open. This is the most important question re the future of the UN. Talk amongst yurselves.

  18. Yet another in a long line of great ideas from the Iraqi resistance…chase away all the international observers and aid groups, so only the Americans will be around to hear you scream.

    I hope no one was expecting backbone from an organization that can’t even back its own resolutions.

  19. The United Nations represents all the nations of the world, right. And the U.N. is supposed to have all the power and authority of the world’s nations behind them. So if the U.N. is really a bunch of nations that are really united, why would they want to pull out of Iraq? Are they a bunch of pussies? Why don’t they pass a resolution or something?

    You can always count on the stalwart U.N. to stand firm in the face of adversity. Har!

    I like the idea of the U.N., I just don’t like how they’re running the real U.N.

  20. Now, remind me again as to why I should put my faith in the UN, the international “community” and NGOs?

    When enough American (and innocent Iraqi) blood has been spilled, then they will come crawling back, probably to bitch about what a mess we left for them.

    After Sarejevo, Somalia, Rwanda and Kosovo, why some of these organizations, especially the UN, still have any credibility is beyond me.

  21. The message to aggressors has been clear since the 1930s, when the League of Nations did nothing in the face of Japanese aggression in Manchuria and Italian aggression in Ethiopia, that such international organizations are largely toothless.

  22. What does this do the Dean/Dem plan to turn the place over to the UN muy pronto? That was pretty weak beer before the UN ran like little girls, but now, what will Dean say?

  23. Now all we need to do is get the U.S. out of the U.N and the U.N. out of the U.S.

  24. Speaking of Dean, anyone have a theory as to why Democrats, mainstream Democrats, get such wood at the mention of the UN? It seems like the best that can be said about it is that it’s ineffective.

  25. The UN doesn’t actually represent all the nations of the world. It represents the ideals of most of the nations of the world. Their collective principles aren’t often actionable items; the U.N. can only respond effectively to Hitler/Milosevic-style situations where it is neither difficult nor controversial to draw the moral line in the sand and get on one side of it. When their security council members do not agree, the UN heaves to and is useless, because maneuvers amount to veto, veto, badmouth, veto, go home. I think they have credibility because in some ways the U.N. and its satellite feel-good crunchy granola jam session support groups were the only thing standing between the U.S. and an empire. It think it maintained its credibility because generally no one broke the rules and exposed the obvious, i.e., that the U.N. has only ever had as much relevance as all of its members conceded to it. The U.N.’s inadequate handling of the Iraqi situation is similar to its inadequate handling of the Israeli situation. Were we really supposed to wait for them to extricate their heads from their asses? Maybe the body is a good idea in some sense, but except to stifle the empire, it doesn’t actually work.

    The U.N. may find some use as a senate, however.

    heh heh.

  26. It represents the ideals of most of the nations of the world.

    What rot. It is a PR forum for dictators. No organization that puts Qaddafi in charge of the human rights committee and had Saddam scheduled to take over the non-proliferation committee represents any ideals whatsoever.

    I think they have credibility because in some ways the U.N. and its satellite feel-good crunchy granola jam session support groups were the only thing standing between the U.S. and an empire.

    No, the only thing standing between the US and an empire are the US citizens. If we decide we want an empire, the UN can’t stop us or even slow us down much.

  27. represents any ideals whatsoever.

    They don’t represent your ideals. Human rights and NPTs don’t need to be #1 on everybody’s agenda.

    between the US and an empire are the US citizens.

    You overestimate the power of the voter. The vote is your sole power over the aggression of this new “manifest destiny” of theirs (what else are ya gonna do, riot?). And at this point a Bush loss is not in the cards for ’04. If this is a long-standing tacet goal of U.S. foreign policy, the “power of the people” won’t change a damned thing.

  28. It’s extremely telling that the two UN stories out today deal with (A) pulling out of Baghdad, and (B) mounting resistance to a smoking ban at UN headquarters. UN diplomats are showing more balls in fighting for their right to light up, than in bringing some form of a peaceful future to Iraq.

    BTW, anybody watch Fox last night and catch the video of Saddamite executions and torture of poor souls who had gotten on the wrong side of the Baathists? Evidently taped between 1995 and this year, it featured a beheading, bound prisoners being thrown off rooftops, and one poor fucker having his tongue sawed off by Fedayeen Saddam, all in the presence of an audience.

    Still, it was a bad idea to invade Iraq…

  29. They don’t represent your ideals. Human rights and NPTs don’t need to be #1 on everybody’s agenda.

    No, I’m all in favor of human rights and non-proliferation. I’m saying the UN doesn’t advance these or any other ideals, and in fact imposes significant opportunity costs on the pursuit of these ideals.

    The UN idea, after all, of a human rights conference is one devoted to the bashing of Israel.

    You overestimate the power of the voter.

    I think you overestimate the power of the UN.

  30. You mean the UN doesn’t feel like it has a commitment to stay? I wonder why…

    Clark’s book is right: bringing allies on board early makes our fight their fight, and keeps them from bugging out when things get tough. As things stand, a failure in Iraq won’t undermine the UN; in fact, it will validate its opposition to the war.

  31. If there was no UN, someone would create it. And to be frank, as the UN was an Anglo-American creation, if there are problems with its functionality, it should be laid at the feet of the Anglo-Americans. 🙂

    I also think that people tend to expect a bit too much of the UN; at best its the collective will (or lack thereof) of the world community, and not even that – as the real power UN is held by the five permanent members of that organization – what were originally termed the “five world policemen” right after WWII. Its a relatively impotent body without the say-so of these member states.

  32. hey tom from texas!

    does this mean we should go in and invade every country with brutal methods? israel would also be a target for us, then: state sponsored and approved torture and all…

    while it’s certainly true that we are enjoying the dirt naps all of those baathist fucks, and we have the chance to make the world better off (let’s see what iraq ends up with before making that call), using that emotionally-charged argument to be for the invasion smacks to me very much like using columbine to be against guns. or using poor little bambi nuzzling up to its shot parent to “prove” that hunting is wrong or something.

    were you for or against haiti, by the way (continuing a thought from an earlier thread)? and nice call about the league of nations, too!

    regards and cheers,
    drf

  33. Here’s the latest from the UN on their website about their commitment (res. 1511).

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusRel.asp?infocusID=50&Body=Iraq&Body1=inspect

    “The Secretary-General says UN is determined to continue helping Iraqi people as best it can.” Perhaps the “best it can” do is to run.

  34. true. the league of nation was the birth of that disaster. and just think, HRC channels Elenor, probably about UN issues.

    what does “passage a tabac” or something like that mean? it is in the context of a cops story (that’s “flic” right?)

  35. David,

    Haiti is a tough call. Nobody has been able to make that place work for two centuries. For true blood-curdling reading, look into what the whites, blacks and creoles used to do to each other there. It makes Saddam and his crew look like pussies.

    About all that would truly work in Haiti is to depopulate the entire place by relocation, scrub that half of Hispaniola clean, and then let some of the folks back in. Hatreds run too deep there for cosmetic changes.

    On the other hand, you could make a case that Haiti is a backwater that is best left to stew in its own misery (no Haitian terrorists hijacking cruise ships last I checked) until the aggrieved parties have killed each other off. Iraq occupies different real estate, and is a powderkeg in a region that could bring true horror to the world. It therefore warrents attention.

    Israel has a host of enemies inside and just outside its borders whose declared intent is the complete destruction of the country and its people. I am more than willing to give the Israelis a pass when they bring out the rubber hoses and nipple clamps.

  36. thanks!

    the image of mr clean donning a pirate outfit and headin’ down there to clean up is great. do you remember the SNL sketch “bad idea jeans” from a few years ago? “normally i wear protection, but what the hell, i’ll never go to haiti again”. excellent stuff.

    drf

  37. Huh, I agree with Jean Bart! The elephant in the middle of the room regarding the UN is that the US is the lynchpin of the whole organization. I don’t think there was ever a realistic effort to put a boot in our asses back when Jesse Helms was sitting on $1B in past dues.

    I don’t get why conservatives get all bunched up about the UN. It just stews in it’s own juices now and then, and allowed (and allows) the US a convenient second front (where no one physically died) in the Cold War and in a variety of US driven initiatives. Great that it’s available to use when needed; we can play along in the ceremonies all the other times.

    UN black helicopters my ass – if that’s what you’re afraid of, I just got 1000 feet of tin foil at the BJ’s down the street from me. Help yourself.

  38. My take on the “credibility” of the UN. Wishful thinking from those who want to believe that cooperation is better suited for solving problems than self interest. The US’s complicity in setting up the UN was probably the result of a different kind of idealism, ie the belief that if we could just get everybody together in one place, they’d see it OUR way. heh-heh. Also, I wonder if it was sort of modeled on the board of directors of a corporation. Get everyone together and arrive at a decision. But a corporate board has a more unified self interest than all the nations of the world.

  39. fyodor, the UN was an exercise in self interest, but of a more enlightened form than its detractors deal in. Korea. East Timor. It is manifestly in our interest to have a forum such as the UN through which to pursue our foreign policy objectives. I think the “second front” comment above gets it just right.

  40. UN = Valuable East River Real Estate. Luxury Co-ops for all – power to the people! Hasta La Victoria, Siempre! Who here thinks that some highly-strung NYC real estate agents couldn’t take out the entire UN “security” force and have that building rented/sold in under 3 days. Hurry, it won’t last!

  41. I know there’s more than one building, but it takes a while to build out the IMAX theatre, so we’ll just concentrate on the “unmatched city and river views in this no-war luxury doorman building”

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