Jewish World Review Feb. 27, 2003 / 25 Adar I, 5763

Jonathan Gurwitz

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Blood already on UN inspectors' hands | In his presentation to the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences called for in U.N. Resolution 1441. And this body places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately."

But Powell was being kind. As the Security Council debates yet another Iraqi resolution, the United Nations has, in large measure, already established itself as being irrelevant to the major security and humanitarian issues facing the world.

Last summer, Syria, one of the leading sponsors of international terrorism whose troops have occupied Lebanon since 1975, assumed the temporary presidency of the Security Council. Last month, Libya, whose human rights record of abduction, torture and assassination was described by Human Rights Watch as "appalling," was elected president of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

And if there were any doubt that the patients have taken over the U.N. asylum, Iraq had been scheduled to chair the U.N. Disarmament Commission in March, until the Iraqi mission unexpectedly informed the commission on Feb. 15 that it intended to decline its leadership position.

The moral vacuousness of the United Nations doesn't, however, only afflict an international bureaucracy; it affects the lives of Iraqi people yearning to be free from the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein.

In one of the most under-reported stories of the past month, television cameras on Jan. 25 captured an Iraqi man with a notebook struggling to get into the jeep of a U.N. weapons inspector as he screamed, "Save me! Save me!" in Arabic. The inspector sat unmoved, physically and emotionally, as Iraqi security forces pulled the man away by his arms and legs.

The man, since identified by relatives in the West as Adnan Abdul Karim Enad, has disappeared. Enad had deserted from the Iraqi army, for which he spent two years in prison. His relatives, fearing for his safety, have appealed to the Bush administration and Amnesty International to intercede on Enad's behalf.

Aziz al-Taee, chairman of the Iraqi-American Council, worries that the indifference shown to Enad by U.N. weapons inspectors will discourage other Iraqi dissidents from coming forward. "They did not even listen to him. They just pushed him to the security forces," al-Taee told the Times of London.

Asked if Enad carried with him any information relevant to Iraqi weapons programs, chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix said, "There was nothing in the booklet he seemed to be carrying." Then Blix disgustingly added that Iraqi scientists could find "more elegant ways" of approaching U.N. inspectors.

Whether or not Enad had any information about Iraq's prohibited weapons programs or whether he was simply seeking asylum, Blix's droll comment is reminiscent of his European brethren who, six decades ago, turned their backs on another group seeking asylum. Perhaps the Jews, too, could have found "more elegant ways" to escape Nazism.

Days after Enad was taken into custody by Iraqi security forces, Saddam ordered official death certificates drawn up for key Iraqi scientists. Powell asserted that Iraq had created the death certificates so the scientists - placed in hiding by the Iraqi regime - could be removed from the list of potential interviews by U.N. inspectors.

Iraqi exiles, on the other hand, claimed the untimely death certificates were sent to the families of the scientists as a clear warning of the consequences of cooperation with U.N. inspectors. "The message is, they will die a terrible death if they cooperate," one exile told the New York Post.

Anyone who claims to have compassion for the Iraqi people cannot possibly endorse the idea of more worthless inspections by Blix's inspectors or granting the United Nations primacy in protecting Saddam's brutal regime. To do so is not just a pointless diplomatic exercise, it is an act of inhumanity.

JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. Comment by clicking here.


© 2003, Jonathan Gurwitz