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April 15, 2003

The Role of the U.N. in Postwar Iraq

By George Will redacted by Jerome S. Kaufman at

The task of reconstructing Iraq — more its civil society than its physical infra-structure — is entangled with the less urgent task of reweaving the frayed relations between America and France and Germany, and with the optional task of rehabilitating the United Nations. The United Nations has proved itself unsuitable as an instrument of collective security. It is a stew of starkly conflicting political cultures and incompatible assessments of the world's dangers and what to do about them. Hence it cannot function as a policy-making body. The United Nations can, however, be invited to help with certain brief relief and civil administration chores. This invitation should be extended for the same reason France was made a permanent member of the Security Council in 1945 —as psychotherapy for a crisis of self-esteem brought on by bad behavior.

Note the verb "invited." There is no entitlement for France, Germany, Russia and the United Nations. They did all in their power to keep Saddam Hussein in power, which makes them accessories to tyranny and war crimes. All Iraq's debts incurred to Russia, France, and Germany — U.S. officials at the United Nations say Germany was even more troublesome than France "in the corridors," meaning in the prewar politics outside the Security Council — during Saddam's regime should be canceled. Read on.