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The Outlaw U.N.
Thursday, May 8, 2003
The Jewish religion makes a big thing about character assassination. And I don't mean pieties from the pulpit against "tale-bearing," "defamation," "gossip" or "bearing false witness against thy neighbor."
That particular sin in Judaism isn't tucked away somewhere below murder, stealing and adultery. No way. Taking aim at another person's good name ranks right up there with the worst. It's actually considered a kind of murder, in which the victim survives physically but remains forever blighted by an un-eradicable splotch upon his reputation.
I can't wait to ask the rabbi if Judaism has yet awakened to the danger of the OPPOSITE of character assassination – namely, the false bestowing of a GOOD name upon somebody or something that's actually rotten to the fuzzy roots.
I missed the chance to be Moses, but maybe I can at least become the first Jew to propose elevating character INVENTION and character PRETENTION up to the same level as character assassination!
I refer specifically to the obscenely undeserved and unwarranted good name enjoyed by the United Nations.
You may think, "What's he talking about? The U.N. has a miserable name!"
Congratulations on your awareness, but all you're proving is that you, personally, are not part of the problem.
To less-informed folk, of which there are a majority, huge and gaining, the mere name "United Nations" radiates an automatic validity that sucks billions of unthinking people (PLUS millions who should know better) right up the exhaust pipe!
Look at all the Americans throwing themselves on the floor because our invasion of Iraq "lacked the validity of a U.N. resolution." Most of them are probably nice people totally rational on great galaxies of other issues. They're not running dogs of the terrorist enterprise.
They're just unknowing prisoners of a kind of post-hypnotic suggestion flung round the world in 1945's instructing all good people to hail the newborn United Nations as nothing less than the long-awaited "Parliament of Man!"
I can almost hear one of my junior high school teachers right this minute joyously explaining to the class at the U.N.'s founding: "Now you see, the General Assembly is going to be like our House of Representatives. The Security Council will be like the Senate. The delegates came from every country to San Francisco to get it organized and they're going to headquarter the United Nations in New York."
How could anybody escape the cozy notion that the entire world, after a lot of deep thinking, had examined all possible role models and decided they wanted the world to be like the United States?
Go seek out one of your neighbors who views America as an outlaw because we plunged into Iraq, arrogance fitting us like a jock strap, after only 17 U.N. resolutions, knowing full well we lacked the 18th. Talk to them gently about the U.N. in general.
They'll have to admit that France and Russia have the kind of financial interest in Saddam's Iraq that would get them thrown off even a Jersey City jury in the 1930s. They'll have to admit that the U.N. ignores dictatorship, political murder, torture and repression all over Asia and singles out for big-time condemnation only Israel, which is the only democracy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. They'll have to admit that, yes, the United States was thrown off the U.N. Human Rights Commission but Cuba is holding down the seat just fine.
You'll see how completely your neighbor fits the old Wild West joke about the man who warned his friend not to gamble at the new roulette wheel at the local saloon because it was crooked.
"I know," said the eager gambler. "I know it's crooked. But it's the only game in town."
This space is on record proposing that the United States recognize the glaring birth defects of the United Nations, withdraw from the U.N. after breakfast and before lunch launch a new international organization that would intelligently sidestep those defects. I'd call it the UFN – the United FREE Nations – and admit only democracies.
There might be some kind of inner core like the Security Council, but no nation would have a veto and it wouldn't include, for instance, a France, which was handed a courtesy Security Council membership merely as a post-World War II spray deodorant to help make a failed ally with a big name who took a dive in round one feel better about itself. (At least the French seem to approve American roughnecking every time we're liberating THEM.)
For decades voices like mine were dismissed as peevish parochials, right-wing goldfish sucking for air at the side of their little bowls. No more. The notion of America and Britain simultaneously showing the United Nations AND Saddam Hussein what we think of them makes the orchestra of my fantasy play "When the Saints Go Marching In" at max volume!
And I don't feel all alone. Where's all the universal condemnation we were promised? I sense that surprising and surprisingly large segments of global opinion find this new America refreshing.
The academagogues ridicule the "coalition" – nothing but the U.S. and Britain, really, they sneer. Don't let me catch you laughing at Spain, Italy, Poland or even Albania and the other microstates that joined us. When the Russias and the Frances and the Germanys ignore their moral imperative, we should straighten up and salute all those smaller countries that – in Civil War lingo – proved themselves willing to "stand in the hedge and take up the gap."
Hey, folks. One of the worst tyrants in history has been overthrown. That used to bring applause in civilized circles. That 3-year-old girl during the Vietnam War won our hearts when she asked her father, "What if they gave a war and nobody showed up?" She should be old enough now to ask, "What if they gave a liberation of a tyranny without U.N. approval where the dictator's thugs were literally torturing and murdering innocent people and the Iraqi people rejoiced and the "Arab Street" didn't show up?"
Admit it! The Middle East has been improved forever. Syria, for instance, now has a pro-American state on every border! (Israel, Jordan and now Iraq) And it wasn't achieved by Henry Kissinger or Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton. It was achieved by a "cowboy" who has difficulty completing an English sentence without egregious error.
And the ones who as recently as late March of 2003 denounced the invasion of Iraq can't stand it. I understand the temptation to rub it in and tell them "Get used to it. Get a life." But I'm still a liberal in many ways. I won't jeer at them. They need a lot of love. I hope they find some kind of calming, inexpensive and successful therapy.
The late Belgian musical genius Jacques Brel (who would have hated this usurpation of his name!) wrote one of his best songs about the time "Brussels could sing!"
Well, now Baghdad can sing, too. And Baghdad can sing thanks to the aforementioned ridiculized "coalition" – and most emphatically NO thanks to the "Parliament of Man," the United Nations, which, far from being able to CONFER legitimacy upon any invasion can no longer legitimately maintain its own legitimacy.
The U.N. is a self-convicted bystander, a conscientious objector to the removal of a dictator who, unlike the squeamish and antiseptic Hitler, preferred to do his OWN torturing and killing hands-on.
In trying to bring folks down from the image of the United Nations as the "Parliament of Man" to a realization of its bankruptcy, corruption, waste, nepotism, sexual crimes, ineffectiveness, hypocrisy, anti-good and pro-evil dangers, I feel like an embattled de-programmer trying to reclaim souls that were enthusiastically donated to a perverse cult. And my biggest problem is the very NAME, the "UNITED NATIONS!"
Utter those two words and you can literally hear the holy hymns and see the stained glass windows.
Logic is powerful, but the mantra of United Nations is, alas, even more powerful.
Nothing works with those who are high on the United Nations – not the U.N.'s corruption scandals, waste, bureaucracy or sexual harassment, not their failure even to DEFINE aggression, much less oppose it, nor most recently the delegates’ looting of the U.N.'s food service facilities! (Believe it or not!)
Remind them that the United States was expelled from the U.N. Human Rights Commission but Cuba's nomination slid through like an eel going through Vaseline, and you're dismissed as a nitpicker without even being congratulated on finding such huge nits to pick!
If the world were ever asked to vote between the U.N. and the American-British-led Coalition, I would vote for the Coalition based squarely on its record of life saving, life lifting and dictator smashing.
Enron, Arthur Andersen, Imclone – they don't have such good names. They can be dumped into sulfuric acid and sprayed over Death Valley and the masses will cheer. Ahh, but the UNITED NATIONS! That's the cue to bow in reverence.
All the Enron, etc., crowd did was steal money. The U.N. has cost lives, many lives, by giving thugs like Hussein mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and – for far too much of recent history – immunity from removal. Don't forget: Saddam Hussein is the world's leading killer of Moslems.
I, too, once thought the U.N. offered world peace and a better life for the less fortunate of the planet. How could I know it would degenerate into a VIP lounge for thugs, thieves, murderers, torturers and dictators? How can anyone construct a denial of all that? How can they hiss at the Enrons and burn fragrant sassafras root at the bloody altar of the United Nations?
How can they respect the blessings of an organization that feels Cuba, firing squads and all, belongs on the Human Rights Commission instead of the United States even while refusing to admit human rights inspectors into Cuba? Or an organization so protective of sadists who turn their entire countries into concentration camps?
Or an organization that actually votes NOT TO ENFORCE what they'd already demanded 17 times?
I consider myself a model world citizen. If I so much as go through a revolving door without doing my share of the pushing, I go into a guilt trip than can last half the night. But to liberate Iraq without the "blessing" of the U.N.? Not a twinge!
The "only game in town," huh?
Not in towns like Baghdad. Or Basra. Or Mosul or Karbala or Umm Kasr.
At least not anymore.