politics, history and the war on terror
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Internationalize This! 

Senator Kerry, in today's Washington Post, outlines his plan to deal with the reconstruction and transformation of Iraq to a liberal democracy. First and foremost, he states that the mission in Iraq must be completed.

The extremists attacking our forces [in Iraq] should know they will not succeed in dividing America, or in sapping American resolve, or in forcing the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops. Our country is committed to help the Iraqis build a stable, peaceful and pluralistic society. No matter who is elected president in November, we will persevere in that mission.

It is reassuring that Mr. Kerry will continue the current policy of creating a democracy in Iraq, as a failure to do this would be an enormous victory for the Islamic extremists and dictatortships throughout the world. Perhaps Mr. Kerry should speak to the senior senator from Massachusetts, Senator Kennedy, about his attempts to discredit the war effort. Statements such as Senator Kennedy's are instrumental in dividing American opinion & sapping the resolve to fight.

Mr. Kerry's solution to Iraq, which should come as no surprise, is to internationalize the efforts to restore Iraq. He believes that ceding authority to the United Nations and NATO will increase the amount of troops available for peacekeeping and provide legitimacy to this endeavor.

We should urge NATO to create a new out-of-area operation for Iraq under the lead of a U.S. commander. This would help us obtain more troops from major powers. The events of the past week will make foreign governments extremely reluctant to put their citizens at risk. That is why international acceptance of responsibility for stabilizing Iraq must be matched by international authority for managing the remainder of the Iraqi transition. The United Nations, not the United States, should be the primary civilian partner in working with Iraqi leaders to hold elections, restore government services, rebuild the economy, and re-create a sense of hope and optimism among the Iraqi people. The primary responsibility for security must remain with the U.S. military, preferably helped by NATO until we have an Iraqi security force fully prepared to take responsibility.

The only problem is this has already been tried. The United States has requested NATO assistance in Iraq, only to be rebuffed by Germany, France and Belgium. Assistance from the United Nations was also requested, several times, however it was opposed by Russia, France Germany and many other nations. The United Nations withdrew from Iraq at the first sign of danger, after its office in Iraq was destroyed in a car bomb attack. Many countries in the United Nations opposed the invasion of Iraq for political or financial reasons, and have no inclination to support the reconstruction.

Past events, such as the conflicts in the U.N. and NATO over the policies towards Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo, demonstrate the inability of the international community to put aside their own interests for the good of a nation in peril. President Clinton, perhaps the most loved of American presidents in the international community, could not build a consensus amongst the U.N. to resolve these problems. Perhaps Senator Kerry believes he will have more success in convincing foreign governments unwilling to cooperate in the stabilization of Iraq. He should outline his plan to create this international harmony. And he also should outline his plan in case his effort to internationalize Iraq fails.

Posted by bill roggio @ 10:47 AM