The New Carpetbaggers

Leaders from European Union member states are demanding that the UN take a central role in rebuilding Iraq. They’re asking the US to allow the UN to essentially run the reconstruction of Iraq on all levels.

If that’s what they want, they’d better not be holding their breath.

Why would the United States give any credence to the same UN who never wanted Iraq to be liberated in the first place. Does President Chirac think that the US will honor TotalFinaElf’s $60 billion oil investment just because they asked nice. Do they honestly think that the UN has any moral authority left?

Unfortunately, and unrealistically they do. What they don’t realize is that the UN is not necessary for the reconstruction of Iraq. Already the US has signed bilateral and multilaterial deals for reconstruction services with the UK, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Lithuiania, and Estona. There’s no need to involve the UN in any central role. While groups such as UNICEF may be allowed to operate within Iraq, there is no need for a sustained UN presence in the country.

The real reason for this push has less to do with any concern about Iraqi stability and more concern with making sure that French and German companies get access to the Iraqi market, especially oil. The governments in Paris and Berlin made millions of dollars selling illegal military hardware to Baghdad, and they don’t want to see that stream of revenue dry up. The UN is trying to be like the Northern "carpetbaggers" that descended on the post-Civil War South – opportunists who want to make a quick buck of the reconstruction of a war-torn region.

However, if there is one thing that Chirac and Schroeder should have learned by now it is that President Bush does not back down on issues of this magnitude. I can imagine that TotalFinaElf, LUKoil, and the other firms that invested in the Hussein regime are SOL when it comes to having any connection to the new Iraqi government. They chose to deal with a tyrant, and there is no obligation to return any portion of that blood money.

There will be multilaterial involvement in rebuilding Iraq from a wide variety of nations. However, Kofi Annan should not count on the UN being in charge. They didn’t want to be part of the liberation of Iraq, so why let them be a part of the reconstruction?

6 thoughts on “The New Carpetbaggers

  1. Your editorials appear to be directed at an audience with the historical and foreign knowledge of a third-grade class. Unfortunately, the category includes a very high percentage of American ignoramouses, but occasionally you are going to run into someone who knows enough to discredit your false premises.

    Your repeated attempts to suggest this military operation was all about liberation directly contradict written and recorded statements of the past year that stated the war was about any number of other things. Making the war about “liberation” makes your side look the most humanitarian, so you’ve stuck to that argument in recent months and have conveniently forgotten about the rest of your dubious justifications.

    Beyond that, Paris and Berlin may have newer receipts for selling Iraq illegal weapons, but the US has receipts just the same…and we profitted greatly from paying for Saddam to put bullets in the heads of Iranian kids and gas the Kurds in his own country in the 1980’s. You’re not gonna find too many people who study, rather than rewrite, history who would suggest that France and Germany have more Iraqi blood on their hands than the US does.

  2. I won’t defend selling weapons to Hussein, but we were not doing so in violation of UN sanctions, and the United States actually bothered to remove the Hussein regime from power, something that France and Germany would not have.

    Also, the humanitarian aspect of this war has always been one of the justifications for the removal of the Hussein regime. While it was not stressed nearly enough as it should have been, it was not just pulled out of thin air in January. (In fact, just a cursory search of the archives for this site revealed that justification was mentioned all the way back in August.)

  3. By making this war about “liberating Iraq”, you put yourself in a very precarious position, and it will be almost impossible to keep your actions consistent with your rhetoric. You’ve consistently defended the US’s “diplomacy instead of war” policy towards North Korea, which in some ways could be defended (however haphazardly) simply on the grounds of national security. However, it cannot be defended on the newly-crafted grounds of US foreign policy being about “liberation of the oppressed.” France and Germany opposed war in Iraq, so you labelled them “anti-liberation.” You oppose war in North Korea, so therefore I can label you “anti-liberation” just as easily.

    North Korea is just one voice in a chorus of oppressed peasants who would benefit (at least in theory) from regime change, but the US is only going to pursue their liberation if it’s politically or economically advantageous to the US. This certainly applies to nearly every nation in Africa, but is just as applicable to the two oppressive regimes that consistently slip beneath our foreign policy radar, Saudi Arabia and China. Women are publicly stoned to death in the streets of Saudi Arabia and anyone who disagrees with the government of China gets run over by a tank.

    What’s our excuse for not liberating them? Or even talking about the need to liberate them for that matter? Do we perceive that our homeland would endure more long-term assault if we liberated the Saudis? Do we perceive that our military would endure more short-term losses if we liberated China? Or did we simply not want to inconvenience American manufacturers operating sweatshops in these nations, especially China?

    There is no way to avoid embarrassing yourself when you try to discredit nations and the UN as being “anti-liberation” for not supporting war in Iraq. Unless you support regime change for ALL other nations with a repressed people, which you have made it clear you don’t, your debate opponents will be able to drive Mack trucks through the holes in your logic.

  4. That’s an easy question to answer, and it has nothing to do with oil. North Korea has nuclear weapons. Were we to make an hostile moves that the DPRK regards as a threat to their regime, Seoul becomes a nuclear wasteland. (And given the DPRK’s launch capability Tokyo would also be under threat.) The death toll from such an attack would be catastrophic in the least.

    As much as I would love to see the statues of Kim Jung Il falling in Pyongyang as Saddam’s did in Baghdad, the reality of nuclear weapons removes that option as a valid way of doing it.

  5. Even if you discount North Korea there’s still about, oh A THIRD OF THE REST OF THE WORLD that would be applicable.

  6. Just because we suplied Iraq against Iran, does that mean we should not do right now? Last time I checked there was not an arms embargo on Iraq in the 1980’s. However there has been one since 1991. So explain the Roland-2 missiles dated 2002 and labled “made in france.” Our troops found 51 of them, a violation of the arms embargo. Let Paris claim that their sole intentions are to preserve international law. France is no more interested in international law, than Saddam was in disarming.

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