' Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
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Jewish World Review August 26, 2003 / 28 Menachem-Av, 5763

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

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Don't go wobbly, George

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Suddenly, all the "smart people" have an idea for advancing the war on terror while cutting our costs, reducing the burden on over-stretched American forces and affording enhanced legitimacy to our counter-terrorism initiatives: Seek a new UN mandate authorizing an expanded international operation in Iraq.

Notably, this was the theme du jour of the Sunday talk shows, as a gaggle of legislators, retired generals and former officials took turns endorsing such an approach. If only the Bush Administration — and, in particular, Donald Rumsfeld — were not so hung up on the United Nations, the drumbeat went, the U.S. could readily secure heretofore absent international support for the occupation of Iraq. Large numbers of foreign troops would become available, without compromising the principle of unified command. And the American taxpayer could be spared the prospect of being solely responsible for an investment of untold additional billions to try to rebuild Iraq faster than Ba'athist and/or Islamist terrorists can sabotage its infrastructure.

Some of these Sunday morning luminaries cited as evidence of the feasibility of their suggestions a precedent: the UN's authorization for American-led NATO forces to stabilize post-war Bosnia. There is one significant problem with this analogy, however: Iraq is no Bosnia.

There is, after all, an ongoing war in Iraq, albeit one involving less than "major combat operations." Unlike Bosnia, what is involved is considerably more than keeping once-warring factions apart and allowing international bureaucrats to perform open-ended nation-building assignments.

Instead, as the past fortnight's deadly terrorist bombings, infrastructure attacks and serial ambushes of American and British forces make clear, there is an active conflict underway that is taxing the world's two finest militaries. It is not a place for usually well-meaning, but generally not terribly competent, "blue helmets."

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If there were any doubt about this reality, it should have been vaporized along with the UN's headquarters in Baghdad. International personnel — be they military or civilian — are going to be treated as fair game by those bent on returning Iraq to one form of despotic rule or another (sectarian or theocratic).

In fact, the only hope the United Nations has of being able to perform its self-assigned humanitarian functions on behalf of the Iraqi people is for the Coalition forces to succeed in defeating the enemies of a Free Iraq. This should motivate the organization's Secretary General. Kofi Annan, and every member of the Security Council to support America's efforts to stabilize and secure the country.

Unfortunately, a number of those on the Council — notably, France, Russia and China — and at least some among the UN bureaucracy appear no more interested in seeing the United States succeed in those efforts than are several of Iraq's neighbors. Coalition officials have charged that Islamists and other terrorists are entering Iraqi territory from Syria (which is, as it happens, currently also a Security Council member), Iran and Saudi Arabia. Presumably, they are being allowed to do so to further these countries' shared interest in preventing a democratic, peaceable and prosperous pro-Western nation from emerging from the ashes of Saddam Hussein's tyranny.

Even if the UN Security Council were actually able — and willing — to regard Washington's objectives in Iraq as both compatible with the best interests of the Iraqi people and conducive to those of the larger international community, there is one further reason for not adopting the Bosnia model: The people of Bosnia-Herzegovina seem likely to remain under UN suzerainty for years, if not decades, to come.

The only hope of sparing Iraq a similar fate is by allowing the responsibility for rapidly establishing the institutions and mechanisms for Iraqi self-governance to remain in the hands of an American-led civil administration truly committed to achieving that goal at the earliest possible time.

This is not to say that the United States should go it alone or eschew international help where it can be obtained without compromising the mission or its prospects of early achievement. In fact, the Bush Administration is doing neither; it has already secured the support of dozens of nations and is continuing to enlist more on terms conducive to success.

Arguably the most addled advice about military burden-sharing to emanate this week from one of the Sunday morning quarterbacks came from Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He would not only like to see an international mandate for operations in Iraq. He would also like one authorizing the deployment of U.S.-led NATO forces into an environment that would, if anything, likely make the Sunni triangle seem tranquil by comparison: The Senator wants American and other Western military units to be used to separate Israelis from Palestinians and to help subdue the latters' terrorist factions.

In fairness to Senator Lugar, he is not the first to come up with or to espouse this lousy idea. Still, it should be clear that if the United States is anxious to avoid shouldering more military burdens, particularly in connection with difficult, urban campaigns against Islamist and other foes willing to die in order to kill Americans, there is a better option than the one he proposes. A far more sensible division of labor would be to let the Israelis deal with the Palestinian front in the war on terror than for the U.S. to try to get more help on surely less-than-satisfactory terms in Iraq while strapping on an inherently impossible new task: serving as the protector of Palestinians while conducting military operations against their embedded militants.

President Bush has done the American people and the world a great service by re-establishing a principle very nearly obscured by recent practice: The legitimacy of an American foreign policy initiative derives from its justness, wisdom and congressional approval, not from the vagaries of UN Security Council resolutions. Now is no time to go wobbly on that principle.

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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


08/12/03: Divided loyalties
08/05/03: The dot-connector
07/31/03: Wishful thinking about Islamist terror
07/22/03: Horatius Pipes
07/15/03: Making Saddam's day
05/20/03: Saudi terror watch 05/13/03: 'Transformation, part deux'
04/29/03: Shooting the messenger
04/15/03: Who's next?
04/08/03: Winning the peace
03/05/03: A friend in need
02/25/03: The plot thickens
02/18/03: Who's 'with' President Bush?
02/11/03: Islamists' White House gatekeeper
02/04/03: The Powell report
01/28/03: Bush's finest hour
01/14/03: North Korean scorecard
01/07/03: Nuclear meltdown
12/17/02: Serious about defending America
12/03/02: Defining 'regime change'
11/26/02: With friends like the Saudis...
11/19/02: The Jayna Davis files
11/12/02: Could Israel die of thirst?
11/04/02: Against us
10/22/02: Too clever by half?
10/17/02: 'Drain the swamps'
10/08/02: The temptations of George Bush
10/01/02: Return of the San Francisco Dems
09/24/02: The next crusader?
09/17/02: It is no accident that advocates of coercive inspections have opposed prez's goal of regime change
09/10/02: A model for Iraq
08/27/02: Beware 'consensus leadership'
08/20/02: To Iraq or not to Iraq?
08/13/02: Trading with the 'enemy'
07/30/02: Who's trashing Ashcroft?
07/23/02: Wall Street's 'poisoned apples'
07/16/02: Back on the China front
07/09/02: See no evil?
07/02/02: Rethinking peacekeeping
06/25/02: Political moment of truth on defense
06/19/02: Inviting losses on two fronts
06/12/02: Make missile defense happen
06/04/02: The next 'Day of Infamy'?
05/29/02: Bush's Russian gamble
05/21/02: The 'next war'
05/15/02: Ex-presidential misconduct
05/07/02: When 'what if' is no game
05/02/02: Careful what we wish for
04/24/02: The real 'root cause' of terror
04/02/02: First principles in the Mideast
03/26/02: 'Renounce this map'
03/20/02: The inconvenient ally
03/12/02: Adults address the 'unthinkable'
03/05/02: The Saudi scam
02/26/02: Rumsfeld's 'now hear this'
02/19/02: Where's the outrage?
02/12/02: Post-mortem on 'Pearl Harbor II'
02/05/02: Spinning on the 'Evil Axis'
01/29/02: A challenge for the history books
01/22/02: Who pulled the plug on the Chinese 'bugs'?
01/15/02: No 'need to know'
01/08/02: Sentenced to de-nuclearize?
12/18/01: Missile defense mismanagement?
12/11/01: Is the Cold War 'over'?
12/04/01: A moment for truth
11/29/01: Send in the marines -- with the planes they need
11/27/01: 'Now Hear This': Does the President Mean What He Says?
11/20/01: Mideast 'vision thing'
11/13/01: The leitmotif of the next three days
11/06/01: Bush's Reykjavik Moment
10/30/01: Say it ain't true, 'W.
10/23/01: Getting history, and the future, right
10/16/01: Farewell to arms control
10/05/01: A time to choose
09/25/01: Don't drink the 'lemonade'
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?
09/05/01: Strategy of a thousand cuts
08/28/01: Rummy's back
08/21/01: Prepare for 'two wars'
08/14/01: Why does the Bush Administration make a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks and Israel's restrained defensive responses?
08/07/01: A New bipartisanship in security policy?
07/31/01: Don't go there
07/17/01: The 'end of the beginning'
07/10/01: Testing President Bush
07/03/01: Market transparency works
06/27/01: Which Bush will it be on missile defense?
06/19/01: Don't politicize military matters
06/05/01: It's called leadership
06/05/01: With friends like these ...
05/31/01: Which way on missile defense?
05/23/01: Pearl Harbor, all over again
05/15/01: A tale of two Horatios
05/08/01: The real debate about missile defense
04/24/01: Sell aegis ships to Taiwan
04/17/01: The 'hi-tech for China' bill
04/10/01: Deal on China's hostages -- then what?
04/03/01: Defense fire sale redux
03/28/01: The defense we need
03/21/01: Critical mass
03/13/01: The Bush doctrine
03/08/01: Self-Deterred from Defending America
02/27/01: Truth and consequences for Saddam
02/21/01: Defense fire sale
02/13/01: Dubya's Marshall Plan
02/05/01: Doing the right thing on an 'Arab-Arab dispute'
01/30/01: The missile defense decision
01/23/01: The Osprey as Phoenix
01/17/01: Clinton's Parting Shot at Religious Freedom
01/09/01: Wake-up call on space
01/02/01: Secretary Rumsfeld
12/27/00: Redefining our Ukraine policy
12/19/00: Deploy missile defense now
12/12/00: Sabotaging space power
12/05/00: Preempting Bush
11/28/00: What Clinton hath wrought
11/21/00: HE'S BAAAACK
11/14/00: The world won't wait

© 2001, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.