A fig leaf the United Nations won't provide

Bob Herbert from the Times has a good article in the Herald Tribune –

The United States has tried again and again to get help from the United Nations as a way of legitimizing its tragic misadventure in Iraq. But the UN, which was founded in 1945 to foster international cooperation as a way of promoting peace, is following the quiet guidance of its secretary general, Kofi Annan, whose response to the latest U.S. entreaty has been a polite but firm no.
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At a private lunch last week with members of the Security Council, the secretary general made it clear that there was no chance he would go along with a U.S. proposal to have the United Nations assist in the effort to rebuild and reestablish security in Iraq even as the United States retains full control of the country.

“The U.S. would like to have its cake and eat it,” said a diplomat who attended the lunch. “It wants to fly the UN flag to demonstrate to Iraqis and others that it is no longer an occupying power. But the U.S. would still be the occupying power because it would still be ruling the country.” The latest American request, a proposed Security Council resolution calling for a multinational security force in Iraq, is going nowhere, officials said. The word Thursday was that the U.S. might well abandon it.

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