UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Reaffirming Our Decision: The U.N. shows its true colors again

Seeing that the United Nations is considering leaving Afghanistan should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, this is the same impotent organization that America was crucified for ignoring on the road to war with Iraq. Why, then, is there still even consideration from some of the anti-war crowd for a handover of Iraq to the U.N.?

The latest exhibit of U.N ineptitude came on 12 December. In an interview with the Associated Press, top official Lakhdar Brahimi warned that his team could not continue working in Afghanistan unless the security situation improved. Germany, of course, is currently in charge of the peacekeeping operation while American forces continue the hunt for Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists. So perhaps the only thing surprising about Brahimi’s comments was that the U.S. was not singled out; rather, Brahimi preferred alluding to other nations when he spoke:

“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. If not, we will go away.”

So, after over two years in Afghanistan, suddenly the U.N is considering a pullout? Here’s a news flash for them: Afghanistan is not even close to as dangerous a place as Iraq. How many guerrilla attacks do you hear about in Afghanistan? How many I.E.D. ambushes are there daily? How many coalition soldiers die there on not a weekly, but even a monthly basis?

The answer is hardly any. There are obvious reasons for this, mainly because the “footprint” of U.S. forces extends nowhere beyond heavily fortified bases in remote parts of the country while the I.S.A.F. (International Security Assistance Force) stays put comfortably in Kabul. But even so, in an urban environment like the Afghan capital there is plenty of room for isolated incidents like the ones we see in Iraqi cities: drive-by shootings, roadside bombs, snipers, mortar attacks. The fact that we rarely hear of such incidents in Afghanistan means that either soldiers aren’t leaving their barracks and thus becoming targets (obviously not true), or the U.N. is particularly gutless when it comes to righting a failed nation.

What’s wrong with this picture? With such damning proof to the contrary, how is the U.N. still touted as a harbinger of peace in the world? And why, once again, are people calling for a U.S. handover of Iraq to the U.N. (attention: Howard Dean, John Kerry, etc.)?

Unfortunately, it is either because of resentment of America or for pathetic “pick me!” political reasons. Many don’t want to see the U.S. succeed in Iraq, and even more don’t want the so-called “unilateralist” actions of America to be proven correct. But it is almost impossible to imagine the U.N. directing the peace process in Iraq while American troops die daily in the killing fields of the Sunni Triangle.

President Bush has made it clear from the beginning that those who fight and die in Iraq are going to be the ones making the decisions. He reiterated that in early December with his decision to ban France, Germany and Russia from bidding on post-war contracts. In nine months of conflict U.S. troops have fallen at over a 5-1 ratio compared to all other coalition members combined. The ratio reflects the American ideal for post-war shot-calling; until the leadership is handed over in July to the Iraqi Governing Council, we’ll be deciding the five W’s and How of Iraq.

As for anyone on the other side of the fence in lieu of Iraq, or for anyone who needed a reminder of why the U.N. should be ignored in matters of U.S. national security, take a look at Afghanistan. Sure, it is not a safe place to travel at night; neither is south side Chicago. And sure, there is a serious problem with warlordism and terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan; but with many women in urban areas not wearing their burqua’s, thousands of Afghan schoolgirls back in school, and major reconstruction projects ongoing with negligible terrorist interference, isn’t there tangible evidence for the U.N. to stay? And if they demand more security, as Brahimi has, then what exactly should be done? Be clear, U.N., because the left-leaning side of the world turns its lonely eyes to you. And so far, after two grinding years in Afghanistan, you’re not setting a good example.

Reid Contini- Political Science Major