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The U.N. Scandal: The Last Straw?

Thursday, 03 March 2005 12:00 AM

Some of us have believed for years that the U.N. is a net minus for America. Most Americans for decades thought otherwise. Not anymore. A Rasmussen Poll released last month indicates that only 37 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of the U.N.

It's not just that this tower of Babel on the East River has tried for 60 years to saddle us with entangling alliances and treaties contrary to our best interest and tried to convince us that we should learn not only to like it but also love to pay for it.

Latest examples are the International Criminal Court (ICC), which President Bush wisely refused to sign lest Americans be railroaded into foreign jails at the whim of some distant judge or kangaroo court; the Kyoto Treaty, which the president refused to sign lest well over a million Americans lose their jobs in the interest of picking our pockets to redistribute our earnings to other nations, not all of whom wish us well; and the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which the administration unfortunately has agreed to, and which your senators hopefully will kill after they hear from you.

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It is not just that the evidence strongly indicates high U.N. officials were on the take in an Oil-for-Food kickback scheme involving some of our so-called "allies" such as La Belle France.

It's not just that in its early days, conservatives recognized the United Nations as "the House that Hiss built," in recognition of the Soviet agent Alger Hiss, who played a key role in its formulation and served as its first secretary-general at the launching meeting in San Francisco.

Nor is it just that the United Nations refused to honor its own resolutions against Saddam Hussein's Iraq and tried to block President Bush's effort to remove the blood-soaked dictator.

Nor is it merely that the U.N. General assembly is chock-a-block with America-hating Third World countries ruled by potentates of all stripes.

Nor is it simply that the United States has paid for all of this through a dues structure that has fallen most heavily on the shoulders of our taxpayers, many of whom resent it.

It's all these things combined and more. And now comes the proverbial last straw.

A congressional panel is investigating the U.N. "peacekeepers" accused of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Congo. Congressman Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, chairs the House International Relations Subcommittee on Africa. He laments that "the United States government, a worldwide leader in the fight against trafficking of women and children," is also "the largest donor to the U.N. peacekeeping force in the Congo," which has been accused of 150 or so allegations of abuses including pedophilia, rape and prostitution. The Smith committee has been holding briefings and hearings to determine what it is to be done about the charges.

The Garden State lawmaker, who has authored two landmark laws to combat human trafficking, has introduced new legislation that "strengthens efforts to combat" such exploitation, as he explained to a March 1 hearing he conducted on Capitol Hill. It would "require a certification that safeguards are in place to prevent peacekeepers from trafficking."

"We could have pedophiles and [other sexual predators] signing up for U.N. peacekeeping and not know it," the congressman told me. "Just like any area where you have people who are in positions of power over a vulnerable population, you've got to make sure that people who are in positions of power over a vulnerable population, the troops and the whole command, as well as the contractors you employ, treat these people that are vulnerable with the utmost respect." Instead, the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission has "become a magnet for people who will exploit" them, and "that's exactly what happened in the Congo."

The U.N. supposedly has a "zero tolerance" policy against these "crimes against humanity," as Congressman Smith puts it. The problem, he says, is that there is "zero compliance" with the "zero tolerance" policy. One might add that until recently, when the spotlight of publicity came into play, there was also "zero enforcement" as well.

"There has been a systematic abuse of very young children and very young women, and it's been going on for years," the New Jersey representative complained to NewsMax. "And what I find equally appalling was that even after the investigation by the U.N. itself and by Human Rights Watch and other groups ... it continues. Talk about a climate of impunity!"

So, is the time ripe for a taxpayers' revolt focused on this issue? Are decent, God-fearing, hard-working Americans shelling out a part of their paychecks to finance what amounts to a sewer?

"If it can't be fixed, I would say that," Smith replies, "especially if the people who committed these terrible crimes are not brought to punishment and to justice. We need radical reform at the United Nations on a host of fronts."

He cites another current big scandal at the U.N., the Oil-for-Food fiasco, which "led to people dying in Iraq because medicines and food were not available to children who were at risk," while all signs indicate our "friends" in Europe and at the United Nations lived off the fat of the land with their ill-gotten gains. Apparently, they had no twinge of conscience that their high-living was extracted out of the mouths of innocent starving kids.

The House subcommittee chairman is not ready to end funding for U.N. peacekeeping, but he adds that "we should demand, not request, not hope for, but demand that reforms are immediate." He blames the chain of command at the United Nations, where "there was either complicity or total incompetence."

It is unclear exactly how high up the U.N. chain of command the cover-up actually went in the Peacekeeping scandal, but Congressman Smith says, "I do know that [U.N. Secretary-General] Kofi Annan was the head of Peacekeeping when we had the terrible slaughter of the Tutsis in Rwanda." Kofi Annan ignored warnings about what was going on, according to revelations in a previous congressional probe Smith conducted. When Kofi Annan went down to Rwanda, the Tutsis turned their backs on him.

Annan went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, yet another example of how the value of that "honor" has diminished over the years. Yasser Arafat also won the award. What for? For sending suicide bombers to kill innocent kids?

Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican whose Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has held the U.N.'s feet to the fire in the Oil-For-Food scandal, has flat-out urged Kofi Annan to resign. Does Congressman Smith agree?

"I'm almost there," he replies, recalling that back in 2001, he tried to persuade President Bush not to support Annan for a second term. "I certainly think he needs to be held to account because he has, with a number of people under his direct employ, been too quick to dismiss, look askance," as in the Oil-for-Food scandal, where members of his family were complicit.

The American Conservative Union (ACU) recalls that in 2001, the United Nations International Police Task Force fired a whistle-blower after she told her superiors about a massive pedophile-prostitution ring being run out of the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Bosnia.

So this is nothing new. Some of have long believed that we should get the United States out of the United Nations and get the United Nations out of the United States. The organizaton not only is anti-U.S. but also has become a sewer of corruption.

Until the day we make a clean break, it is important to support Senator Coleman, who is doing an excellent job of investigating the Oil-for-Food scandal, just as Congressman Smith is doing the Lord's work in going after the evil that has permeated the "Peacekeeping" program. Both of them should be encouraged. So, too, should Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida, who has called for foolproof systematic reform "imposed from the outside."

These lawmakers and others of their colleagues deserve the support of the American people whenever they turn over rocks at the U.N. to expose what is going on there.

Also, a letter to your congressman and your senators demanding that Kofi Annan resign would be in order.

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Some of us have believed for years that the U.N. is a net minus for America. Most Americans for decades thought otherwise. Not anymore. A Rasmussen Poll released last month indicates that only 37 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of the U.N. It's not just...
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Thursday, 03 March 2005 12:00 AM
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