|Tuesday, May 4, 2004
11:24 - Can we take off our beards now?
I'm getting really sick of living in Bizarro World.
First it was Libya being elected—by a 33-to-3 nigh-unanimous vote—to chair the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Then it was North Korea, Syria, and Iraq (I forget which ones exactly) chairing the UN's commission on Nuclear Proliferation.
Now, by a unanimous vote, Sudan—with genocide being practiced daily within its borders under government auspices—has been elected to the Human Rights Commission.
As LGF reader TMF says:
Other recent Appointments at the UN:
1. Bill Clinton appointed to head the Commission on Marital Fidelity and Sexual Abstinence.
2. Mike Tyson appointed to head the Commission for the Eradication of Domestic Violence
3. John Gotti appointed to head the Commission for Ethical Business Practices
4. Michael Moore appointed to head the Commission for Truth and Accuracy in Journalism
5. You get the point
And here's the really excruciating part. As insane as this is, and as much of a parody of anything with a morally consistent grounding as the UN has become, Sudan gets to smirk at the US when we (alone) walk out on the vote, shouting out their newly captured moral-high-ground slogans to our retreating backs:
Sudan’s delegate immediately shot back that the U.S. delegation was “shedding crocodile tears” and turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq against civilians as well as against prisoners.
I used to have the same kind of wistful belief in the UN that all good-hearted people did during the post-WWII era: the League of Nations, but this time it would work. World government that all would obey. Not soldiers, but "peacekeepers"—because peace would be the default condition, and they'd only have to "keep" it. An invention of transnational European minds, to be sure, but was that so bad in a world that was about to see the end of history?
But now look at what the UN has become.
They stand aside and watch with paternalistic indulgence as Tutsis are slaughtered in Rwanda and villagers are mowed down by gunfire in Srebrenica. They pour money into Arafat's Palestinian Authority while passing condemnation after condemnation of Israel's increasingly desperate attempts to defend itself through targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders like Yassin and Rantisi. They siphon off billions from Iraq's Oil-For-Food program, funding themselves and their lavish diplomatic lifestyles—and the pockets of their pet companies and family members—on vouchers for millions of barrels of oil handed to them like so many dot-com stock options by Saddam himself. They stonewall to prevent Saddam's removal, because who wants to lose a sugar daddy? And through it all we provide them with a huge building on prime Manhattan real estate, diplomatic immunity for their limos and three-hour downtown lunches, and a nation's beatific laudatory obeisance. For our trouble, now, we find that the UN is all too willing to dispense with any pretense of promoting democracy or human rights when it means they can snub the U.S. and gloat over our slightest isolated missteps—applauding Sudan with a unanimous election to the UN Human Rights Commission while our delegate walks out under derisive catcalls, mocking us for our antiquated and hypocritical notions of "democracy" and "justice" and "human decency".
Oh, and we also pay them 22% of their operating budget, or $232 million, every year. And when they ask us for more—bumping that amount up to $322 million—we happily comply.
On the way in to high school every morning, in Ukiah in the Northern California wine country, my school bus passed a giant billboard on a hillside above the freeway that said in huge letters: Get US out of the United Nations! It was a John Birch Society thing, apparently, and the slogan bemused me to the point where I wrote a research essay on it (as an example of a grass-roots organization with a bizarre and outlandish goal) for my History class.
Little did I ever imagine that that sentiment would one day come to make so damned much sense.