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Jewish World Review Sept. 24, 2004 / 9 Tishrei 5765

Jill "J.R." Labbe

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Spineless in New York | For many conservatives, the United Nations is about as useful in the 21st century as a buggy whip.

So to hear a presidential candidate speak in terms that make the United Nations sound relevant in today's world sets teeth to grinding.

Here's John Kerry in an April 18 interview with NBC's Tim Russert:

``Within weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the U.N. and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world.''

Yes, sir - all it's going to take is a President Kerry traipsing his happy self to New York on a January morning, and the ``community of nations'' - translation: France, Germany and Russia, because the others don't really matter (even to Kerry) - will line up with troops for Iraq.

Hope is on the way? Please.

If the United Nations hadn't been such a eunuch, with its 17 resolutions against Iraq that were nothing more than a tongue lashing, Kerry wouldn't be able to hit President Bush over the head with how the situation is transpiring in Iraq today.

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Too many of the powerful nations on the Security Council were raking in the dough from Saddam Hussein to want him removed from power. Need an example? Under what the world now knows was a compromised U.N. oil-for-food program, France was sending boats and boat accessories as ``relief items'' in exchange for access to Iraq's oil reserves.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan personally OK'd $20 million in ``humanitarian aid'' for Uday Hussein, Saddam's son, to construct an Olympic sports complex. As the world also now knows, Uday's treatment of his nation's athletes was anything but humane.

Fast-forward to last week, when Annan - just days before Bush was scheduled to make his annual address to the United Nations - called the U.S. and British actions in Iraq ``an illegal war'' that has violated ``international law.''

Well, it's crystal-clear which U.S. presidential candidate Annan prefers. Too bad for Kerry that Annan and his European colleagues can't vote here.

Once upon a time, the U.N. mission was to bring democracy and freedom to all countries. That day has long since evaporated into the misty-misty. That once august body has been so co-opted and corrupted that nothing short of an entire overhaul of the organization can save it from itself.

Annan and the Security Council aren't dedicated to challenging autocratic regimes that crush the dream of liberty by repressing people, and to say so with a straight face takes an acting ability way more sophisticated than Kerry's.

How can the United Nations be taken seriously when a nation like Sudan - which Annan calls the site of the world's greatest humanitarian disaster yet still won't let the word genocide cross his lips - has a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission?

When Bush fulfilled his duties on Tuesday in addressing the U.N. General Assembly, he did so as a realist, holding none of the Kerryesque notions that this jellyfish body will actually grow a spine and help with Iraq's reconstruction.

Even if the United Nations did offer support, it will do little to change the outcome in Iraq. U.N. ``troops'' would be limited to noncombat support personnel. The United States would still carry the bulk of costs, financial and military.

The United Nations has deteriorated into little more than a megaphone for anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes. It hates what we stand for - but it still loves our money.

To think that a Kerry presidency will change this is foolish.

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JWR contributor Jill "J.R." Labbe is senior editorial writer and columnist for the Star-Telegram . Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004, Jill "J.R." Labbe