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The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Kofi Annan: "I helped!"

Kofi Annan lauds the successes in Iraq. It should be required reading for all people who think the cause in Iraq is lost. But Kofi can't bring himself to acknowledge why these good things happened:
The Brussels conference is a chance to reassure the Iraqi people that the international community stands with them in their brave efforts to rebuild their country, and that we recognize how much progress has been made in the face of daunting challenges.

Elections were held in January, on schedule. Three months later the Transitional National Assembly endorsed the transitional government. The dominant parties have begun inclusive negotiations, in which outreach to Sunni Arabs is a major theme. A large number of Sunni groups and parties are now working to make sure that their voices are fully heard in the process of drafting a new constitution, and that they participate fully in the referendum to approve it and the elections slated for December.

Indeed, just last week an agreement was achieved to expand the committee drafting the constitution to ensure full participation by the Sunni Arab community. This agreement, which the United Nations helped to facilitate, should encourage all Iraqis to press ahead with the drafting of the constitution by the Aug. 15 deadline.

As the process moves forward, there will no doubt be frustrating delays and difficult setbacks. But let us not lose sight of the fact that all over Iraq today, Iraqis are debating nearly every aspect of their political future.

Well this is good to hear, Kofi.

And yes, it is true.

But Annan is from the European school of public relations: say something good and take credit for it.

Whether this is fair or accurate is irrelevant:
The United Nations has been strongly urged by a wide spectrum of Iraqis to help them maintain momentum, as we did with January's elections.

We? Excuse me? Annan repeatedly called for elections to be postponed; they could not be held as long as there were people in Iraq willing to set bombs. Since there will be these people in Iraq for the foreseeable future, that postponement would be for a very long time.

Annan only provided tepid support when it was apparent that the US - not the international community - was committed to the January 30th deadline.

Do you remember this, Kofi?
The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.

He said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally. The UK government responded by saying the attorney-general made the "legal basis... clear at the time".

Mr Annan also warned security in Iraq must considerably improve if credible elections are to be held in January.

It didn't. And they happened anyway. I believe that had something to the US and its military.

And the UN wasn't helping very much at the time: Limited U.N. Role Hinders Iraq Vote.
The United Nations has failed to fully staff its operation in Iraq, imperiling the timing and quality of the elections there and forcing inexperienced Iraqis to take the lead in preparing for the country's first democratic balloting, due in January, U.S. officials and election experts said.

Of the 35 U.N. officials in Iraq, only four or five are election experts, U.N. officials said. In Afghanistan, which has a similar-size population, the U.N. had 600 international staff, including 266 election experts, for the first democratic poll this month.

Oh, no matter. Kofi blabbers on...
(Iraqis) have sought our support in constitution-making, in preparing for the October referendum and the December elections, and in coordinating donor assistance for the political transition as well as reconstruction and development.

Our response has been prompt and resolute. We have set up a donor coordination mechanism in Baghdad, deployed a Constitutional Support Unit, and established an active and collaborative relationship with the assembly's constitutional committee. Today more than 800 U.N. personnel -- both local and international, including security staff -- are serving in Iraq in the U.N. assistance mission.

It is nice to get some support from Annan.

Yes, a democratic peaceful future for Iraq is still the most likely outcome of what is certainly going to remain a long difficult progress.

But it's not nice for Annan to try to take credit for everything, stripping it away from 150,000 soldiers of the US-led coalition.

In fact, not once does Annan acknowledge that soldiers - from dozens of countries - made it all possible, by going in when the UN said stop.

Kofi did a similar thing in the wake of the Asian tsunami: while the US military was getting aid to the people who needed it, Kofi was skiing.

Later, he claimed that the UN was coordinating the aid.

An interesting perspective, especially when most of the aid organizations were operating from the deck of a American aircraft carrier.

The UN's habit of claiming responsiblity for successes that it tried to hinder is why the UN - especially with regard to Iraq - has become largely irrelevant.

No matter how many paper pushers they "deploy."

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