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December 12, 2003
Now the UN is Bugging Out of Afghanistan

During this entire political campaign, we have been told over and over by the Democratic presidential candidates that Bush's failure to allow the UN to control the reconstruction of Iraq dooms the post-war to failure. The US does not have enough legitimacy, according to the Democrats, to implement a peaceful and successful rebuilding of a nation. However, the UN has proven yet again that they are not capable of doing the job -- now they want to abandon Afghanistan, where they are in charge:

The United Nations may be forced to abandon its two-year effort to stabilize Afghanistan because of rising violence blamed on the resurgent Taliban, its top official here warned Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. ... "Countries that are committed to supporting Afghanistan cannot kid themselves and cannot go on expecting us to work in unacceptable security conditions," Brahimi said. "They seem to think that our presence is important here. Well, if they do, they have got to make sure that the conditions for us to be here are there," he said. "If not, we will go away."

Perhaps Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, and other Democrats can explain to us the military strategy of demonstrating weakness under fire; they certainly seem to think it works, since they're insistent that putting the UN in charge of rebuilding is the proper way to handle Iraq. It would seem to me -- a simple observer, not a general with 35 years of experience -- that telling the insurgents that whatever authority is in Afghanistan will pack up and leave after a few more attacks only encourages those few more attacks to come sooner. It's almost as foolish as hiring Saddam's intelligence service as your security force in Baghdad after the war. The sheer ineptitude of saying that the UN is prepared to abandon its mission in a media interview is breathtaking, and demonstrates yet another reason not to trust critical work to the UN.

Now that the UN has botched Afghanistan like it botched Rwanda and Srebrenica, we should demand an answer from Dean, Clark, and Company why we would want them to take over in Iraq. It's time to recognize that this is serious work and only serious people need apply, and the UN should stand aside if all it intends to do is to run away every time things get a little tough. Running away got us where we're at today.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 12, 2003 12:17 PM

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