advocates are loudly complaining about the United Nations, which they
allege stands in the way of a justified American attack on Iraq. Some
say the U.S. should ignore the U.N. and act unilaterally. And yet, much
of their case for war against Iraq hinges on Saddam Hussein's violations
of United Nation resolutions. So while they holler about Hussein's disregard
for the UN, they would like to see the United States itself disregard
the UN – all with the ironic goal of upholding UN compliance and legitimacy.
hawks also seem to ignore the times the United States has defied the
U.N., such as failing even to pay its dues. This double standard is
clearer when we consider that some hawks don't think the United States
should even be in the U.N. – though the U.S. should presumably enforce
we have the doves. Many of them – the exceptions mainly being America-First-conservatives
and libertarian non-interventionists – argue that the United States
should "let the UN inspections work," and that if the U.S.
acts unilaterally against Iraq it will in itself be in contempt of international
many of these same pro-United Nations doves have for years protested
the U.N. sanctions against Iraq, which they claim have killed over one
million innocent Iraqis. Such an atrocity would disrupt their belief
in the righteousness of international law, one would think.
have pro-war individuals who now denounce the UN for not allowing the
United States to enforce its resolutions – they hate the UN but selectively
embrace its decrees. And we have anti-war folks who applaud the UN for
slowing down the war effort – even as they mourn the hundreds of thousands
of casualties they attribute to its sanctions.
UN Security Council may give into the hawks' agenda. If this happens
the war advocates will again hail the UN as an international community
on the side of justice – and the doves who relied on the UN to prevent
military action will quietly swallow their disappointment.
Nations is no flawless organization, no paragon of truth, no exemplary
model for foreign policies. It is an international coalition of governments
– each with its own priorities and politically motivated agendas. It's
hypocritical and foolish for those who once decried the UN to use its
resolutions to justify war with Iraq – or for antiwar activists to rely
on the UN to bring about peace and justice in a region they believe
has suffered the worst of UN policy.
we should support or oppose the war on the basis of national security
and global stability – or else resign ourselves to countless arguments
over the U.N.'s opinion of the day.
doves, this means Bush's disregard for the UN ceases to hold any merit
as an argument against war. For the hawks, it means that Saddam's disregard
for the UN fails as an argument for it.