It's encouraging that the Bush administration now indicates it's amenable to some sort of international peacekeeping force in Iraq under United Nations sponsorship.
However, there are conditions to the idea that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage aired at the United Nations recently. Chief among them is that the U.N. contingent be commanded by an American. The American military establishment long has been reluctant to have U.S. troops under foreign operational command.
It may not be clear to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but it's obvious to us and to other observers that the 138,000 U.S. troops and smaller contingents of British and other allied forces aren't sufficient to keep order and quell guerrilla attacks by die-hard Saddam Hussein partisans and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.
Also, because Iraq's oil production hasn't resumed as quickly as expected, the petroleum revenues that the White House was counting on to help pay to rebuild the country haven't been forthcoming. Iraqis (rightly) complain that such basics as electric power and water are lacking, and each passing day adds to the discontent.
The repeated guerrilla attacks, including the devastating truck bombing of U.N. headquarters, have caused some international humanitarian organizations to withdraw from Iraq because their personnel don't feel safe. That is a major setback for the United States.
Although the United States and Britain essentially ''went it alone'' to topple Hussein, there is no way that these two powers can stabilize the country and rebuild it without substantial international cooperation. ...
The Denver Post, Aug. 29
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