Probably the best analogy to use in describing the generous offer President Bush made to the United Nations (last) week is that of a bystander throwing a life preserver to a drowning man.
As Bush noted, the United Nations is making itself irrelevant by refusing to take action when action clearly is needed.
If it intends to be only an impotent debating society, then it should cut its budget in half, move to Paris and assume that role.
The United Nations seems intent on making itself a laughingstock, by such actions as putting Libya in charge of human rights. Libya, like several other rogue states, is showing signs of getting its act together, but the history of that nation under Moammar Gadhafi makes it unqualified to oversee human rights.
Likewise, allowing France to play a major role shows that the United Nations cannot keep up with the times. France's socialist politicians, kowtowing to its large Muslim population, seem determined to let radical Islam run amok, ignoring the historical ties it has with the United States.
When the United Nations was paralyzed by its own institutional inertia and unable to enforce its resolutions demanding that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein show proof that he had relinquished his weapons of mass destruction, the United States acted on its own volition, with the aid of many other nations allied in a coalition of the willing.
Now that the United States has spent money and lives liberating Iraq, all the French care about is getting back into business in that nation and reaping profits.
Bush appeared at the United Nations on Tuesday and offered to let other nations take part in restoring the peace and rebuilding Iraq, helping it put a democratic government into place and control its own destiny.
Other nations that want to participate can do so, but the United States should not let those who would not wage the war dictate the terms of the peace.
The task is to get effective policy security, working infrastructure and a functional government, then leave. That won't happen overnight, but the more willing hands helping, the quicker it will be done.
Bush offered to let the United Nations help. It should grasp the opportunity.
He doesn't need the United Nations. But the United Nations needs Bush.
Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
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