Jewish World Review April 8, 2003 / 6 Nisan, 5763

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No more fool's games | The United States and the coalition are on the verge of destroying the regime of Saddam Hussein, liberating the Iraqi people and constructing the foundation of a new era of freedom and prosperity in the Middle East. It would be a shame for the United States and the coalition to win such a historic victory and diminish it by playing the fool.

And it would be foolish indeed to turn over the direction of the humanitarian effort and the reconstruction of Iraq to the same government leaders who obstructed President Bush's every effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

The governments of France, Germany and Russia obviously believe their best chance to mitigate the success of the United States in the Middle East is to once again turn to the United Nations, which gave them, for months, unwarranted influence over U.S. policy.

For too long, both Democratic and Republican administrations have allowed the U.N. to take credit for this nation's generosity and to substitute its values for ours - particularly in the Middle East. I don't know about you, but after this war is won, I would much prefer that viewers of Al-Jazeera television see Americans, British, Australians and other members of the coalition vitally involved in building the new Iraq that President Bush has promised.

The United States has given out hundreds of billions of dollars in aid over the past several decades and contributed more money than any other nation to developing countries. And we give more than double the amount of aid than France and Germany. We pay one-quarter of the U.N.'s budget. As Republican Senator John Ensign said recently, "The U.S. gives and gives and gives; it's time to hold other countries accountable." Part of holding other countries accountable means that the United States should insist that it receives proper credit for liberating Iraq.

Simply put, U.S. and coalition flags will not fly over Iraq because we do not want Iraqis or any Arab nation to look upon us as an occupying force. Similarly, the flags of the United Nations, Germany, France and Russia should not fly over the coalition's efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and to build the new Iraq.

The United States spent $15 million and hired a leading Madison Avenue advertising executive, Charlotte Beers, to boost its public image in the Middle East. But the campaign failed and Beers quickly quit, saying, "The gap between who we are and how we wish to be seen - and how we are in fact seen is frighteningly wide."

The liberation of Iraq and its transition to a free society provides the United States with the opportunity to show Iraq and the rest of the Middle East that America is by far the world's leader in humanitarian efforts. We shouldn't squander that opportunity because we're afraid of criticism from the very countries that fought against freeing Iraq in the first place.

Secondly, a safe and swift transition in Iraq must be ensured. Secretary of State Colin Powell said last week that coalition commanders will initially be responsible for stabilizing and securing the situation.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair deserves our thanks and great respect for his steadfast support of the president and his policies. But I hope in no way does the prime minister persuade the president to lessen his resolve to set a new course in the Middle East because of diplomatic pressures.

This time, it is the U.N. and the governments of France, Germany and Russia that must alter their policies to conform to the new reality being created in the Middle East. A new reality of freedom and prosperity made possible by a president who has had a highly successful coalition not just of the willing - but of the courageous.

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Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline." Comment by clicking here.

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