March to Irrelevance
In the wake of 9/11, President Bush laid out a new doctrine. "From
this day forward," he told Congress several days later, "any nation
that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by
the United States as a hostile regime."
But that was two years ago. These days, Bush is being
criticized-for keeping his word.
Many leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac and U. N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, are still seething because the United
States and Great Britain led a coalition into Iraq last March
without explicit U.N. support.
Of course, just a few months earlier, the Security Council had
unanimously passed Resolution 1441. It found Iraq to be in material
breach of previous orders, and warned Baghdad it would face
"serious consequences" unless it disarmed. Reasonable people would
agree that, when Iraq issued a misleading and incomplete weapons
report a month later, we were free to use force.
But reasonable people don't run the United Nations.
"[Some states] reserve the right to act unilaterally, or in ad hoc
coalitions," Annan told the General Assembly on Sept. 23. "This
logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on
which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested
for the last 58 years" and could result "in a proliferation of the
unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without
It's funny, really, that Annan would even mention "logic" in the
midst of his absurd claim. After all, it's terrorists who engage in
the "lawless use of force," who threaten "world peace and
stability" and who "act unilaterally." And it's the United States
who acts to stop them.
No one doubts that Saddam Hussein supported terrorism. We know, for
example, that he arranged cash payments for Palestinian suicide
bombers and used weapons of mass destruction against his own
people. Saddam posed a terrorist threat to the entire world-a
threat that's been neutralized in spite of the United Nations, not
because of it.
But that reality (and the fact that his country had nothing to do
with Saddam's removal) hasn't stopped Chirac from thumbing his nose
at President Bush. "In an open world," the French leader told the
General Assembly, "no one can live in isolation, no one can act
alone in the name of all, and no one can accept the anarchy of a
society without rules."
As Chirac surely knows, the United States doesn't seek to live in
isolation. But as Bush has said, we'll do what it takes to protect
ourselves from terrorists, and that includes working with other
nations. Let's not forget we assembled a "coalition of the willing"
that included more than 54 countries to help fight the war in Iraq.
As for "anarchy," it was the United States that insisted on
enforcing the dozen or so U.N. disarmament resolutions.
The sad fact is, the only thing that terrorists respect is force.
You can't reason with them, and they have no love for the United
Nations. In August, a suicide bomber attacked the U.N. building in
Baghdad, killing 22 people. France has had its own problems with
terrorists. Over the years, Algerian terrorists have carried out a
series of attacks, killing dozens of people.
Just two years ago, the world changed. President Bush recognizes
that. Our forceful response to 9/11, targeting terrorists in
Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere-has helped prevent another attack
on our soil.
When Iraq's democracy is up and running, it will be an example for
every other nation in the region to follow. It's time for the
United Nations to realize that negotiations won't stop terrorism.
It can either help us in the struggle, or continue its march to
Feulner is the president of The Heritage