portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

government | imperialism & war | political theory

Should we support a UN occupation?

What do Kucinich and Nader have in common? Answer: they both claim to be anti-war yet they support Iraq being occupied by a foreign power: The United Nations.
these two capitalists support Iraq being occupied by a foreign power: the UN
these two capitalists support Iraq being occupied by a foreign power: the UN
Is George W. Bush doing the right thing, even if it's for the wrong reasons? That's what some opponents of the U.S. war on Iraq believe now that the Bush administration has "invited" the United Nations (UN) to play a role in the occupation of Iraq. After dismissing the UN as irrelevant when the Security Council refused to rubber stamp its plans for the invasion last year, the Bush administration seems to have changed its tune--calling in the UN to help shore up support for plans for the future Iraqi government.

But this isn't about promoting democracy. Both Washington and the UN itself hope to gain a political boost from the deal. The Bush administration's handpicked government will appear more "legitimate" if it comes with UN approval. And after being all but written off after the U.S. government's drive to war, the UN wants to seem like a valued institution again.

There's no reason why ordinary Iraqis should trust or welcome the UN. After all, the UN--backed up by the U.S.--carried out the devastating economic sanctions responsible for the deaths of more the 1 million Iraqis between 1990 and last year. And it was UN weapons inspection teams that the U.S. used to spy on Iraq throughout the 1990s.

"We have had bad experiences with the UN in the past," admitted Yonadam Kanna, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council installed by the U.S., to the New York Times last week. According to news reports, Shiite leaders on the governing council are objecting to the UN playing a significant role in Iraq's upcoming election process.

This came after the Bush administration invited the UN last month to assess the potential for holding direct elections--as Shiite leaders have called for--before the June 30 "handover" of power from occupation authorities. The UN team, headed by Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, backed up Washington's claim that elections aren't "feasible."

This essentially means that the U.S. government will get its way--and determine who runs the "interim" government, which will set the terms for future elections. So much for the UN promoting "democracy." Likewise, anyone who believes that the UN will help to rebuild Iraq will be disappointed.

Look no further than Afghanistan--where the government of U.S. stooge Hamid Karzai was given a UN stamp of approval. The country's new constitution--brokered in conjunction with the U.S. and UN--not only legitimizes the power of the brutal warlords who run the country outside of the capital of Kabul, but it also sets up a political system that protects U.S. interests by placing much of the power in the hands of the president, which is likely to be Karzai for the foreseeable future.

The constitution represents, according to James Ingalls in Foreign Policy in Focus, "a backroom agreement brokered by U.S. and UN officials that led to the withdrawal of objections to a strong presidency. While the Bush administration collaborates with its handpicked Kabul leaders to ensure that neither the Taliban nor the warlords challenge Karzai's continuance as president," Ingalls wrote, "all armed parties (the U.S., the Afghan government, the warlords, and the Taliban) have in common the goal of keeping the elections free from another, more unpredictable influence: the people of Afghanistan."

In spite of disputes between the U.S. and the UN over the invasion of Iraq, the UN has a long record of signing off on Washington's plans for intervention. It did so again in the case of Haiti. The UN remained all but silent after the U.S. engineered a "regime change" and drove out democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Aristide has said ever since that he was forced out of the country by U.S. soldiers, who told him that he could either leave or be killed by right-wing rebels. But last week, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan declared that he and the Security Council believe the U.S. cover story that Aristide voluntarily resigned--and that, therefore, there will be no UN investigation of Aristide's ouster.

Washington plans on establishing a permanent presence. Its primary concern now is to put in place an Iraqi regime that will protect that presence and remain faithful to U.S. interests. By endorsing Washington's agenda in Iraq, the UN is providing a fig leaf of "internationalism."

The antiwar movement shouldn't make the mistake of accepting any rhetoric about the UN providing a more "legitimate" alternative to Bush's occupation. And it shouldn't adopt the certain Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry as "our" candidate because he says that he "will go to the UN with a proposal to transfer responsibility to the UN for governance and the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq."

An occupation is still an occupation, whether Washington's war makers are in charge directly, or they operate behind the cover of a UN administration. Only the Iraqi people--not the U.S. government, and not the UN--have the right to decide their fate.

Nader's Iraq policy 12.Jun.2004 00:09

George Bender

Nader wants to set a six month limit to get all U.S. troops, contractors (mercenaries) and corporations out of Iraq. I disagree and wish he would say just get out now, but this is a lot better than the positions of Kerry and Bush, which amount to permanent occupation. Nader is the closest thing we've got now to a presidential peace candidate.


Dressing Up the Puppet Government
Nader Calls for "dual military and corporate exit strategy from Iraq"

The Bush Administration is feeling the pressure of the failure of its Iraq occupation so much so that they have flip-flopped and have sought an international costume for its continued occupation of Iraq.

But the Nader Campaign continues to urge the United States to set a definite date for withdrawal, not only of Mr. Bremer and his civilian authority - but also of the U.S. military, its corporate private mercenaries and its outsourcing corporations like Halliburton. "The spiral of violence will not reverse until a dual military and corporate exit strategy is announced," said Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader. Nader has urged a six months exit with internationally supervised elections, continued humanitarian aid, neutral, Islamic and Arab countries providing security.

The U.N. resolution put forward by the United States and its loyal ally, Great Britain, is seriously flawed. The Resolution while mentioning "sovereignty" 12 times, and referring to the "territorial integrity of Iraq," and even the "end of the occupation" is in truth designed to legitimize the continued occupation of Iraq, allow the U.S. to continue its plans to build over a dozen military bases throughout the country and for U.S. corporations to put deep roots into Iraqi resources and the Iraqi economy. Double talk.

One clause of the U.N. Resolution in particular demonstrates the obvious position of the Bush Administration - that the U.S. continues to be able to use its military force as it sees fit. The resolution says the U.S. controlled military - 160,000 troops - has the "authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq." The power of the US military is unabridged and the occupation of Iraq by the U.S.-commanded force has no end in sight. Indeed, the U.S. rejected proposals by France, Germany and others that Iraq have the final say in controlling the military presence in its country. This condition does not assure many mainstream Iraqis to distance themselves from the resistance.

The only limit placed on US military occupation is a review by the Security Council after one year or if requested by the "transitional Government" of Iraq. Of course, the United States can veto any Security Council resolution so this is not a meaningful limit.

The Resolution does not specify what powers the Interim Government will be allowed. Earlier the U.S. administration stated that the Interim Government would not have the authority to overrule existing laws promulgated and enforced by Paul Bremer. The U.S.-U.K. Resolution does not spell out such a limitation, but neither does it specify what actual powers would be held by the Interim Government.

Another controversial area where the Resolution is silent is on the issue of U.S. military prisons. Eight thousand Iraqis are currently jailed in those prisons. What did the U.S. say it would do with those prisoners? Secretary of State Colin Powell in a side letter attached to the Resolution said internment would continue but only "where this is necessary for imperative reasons of security." A majority of Iraqi's imprisoned were not accused of any wrongdoing, according to US military officials, which is why hundreds have been released in the last fortnight.

And how about the new government? The leader - who some might call the lead servant - is Prime Minister Iyad Allawi - a longtime ally of and connector for U.S. government agencies. He has already said Iraq will need U.S. troops to fight guerrillas even after a U.S.-led occupation formally ends on June 30. During the heady years of European imperialism, this Iraqi situation would be called a protectorate or a colony.

Nader: the lesser evil 12.Jun.2004 13:41


So Nader wants the UN to occupy Iraq. How great (sarcasm).

The UN acts as a figleaf for US imperialism, as Nader notes. YET Nader supports a UN occupation. How much bending over backwards does Nader feel he has to do before the corporate media will give him any respect? The unfortunate answer is that they will NEVER give him respect, hence Nader will NEVER be President. Am I being an asshole? No, I'm being realistic.

There are effective ways of getting things done, and useless ways of getting things done. When I see people doing something useless, I'm going to tell them.

Electoral politics at the presidential level is an intentional scam. It is a cynically-established black hole of time, effort, energy and money specifically designed to deplete the resources of well-meaning activists. As long as activists are campaigning for this or that Knight In Shining Armor, any real resistance is that more difficult to do.

Boycotts, strikes and direct action are proven as tactics. Electoral politics hasn't done squat UNLESS there was a concurrent boycott, strike or direct action to go along with it. That is why during Nixon's administration you saw much more, and much more liberal, legislation than you did during Clinton's administration. Because the popular mnovements INDEPENDANT of the entrenched political system were so active. More active than during Clinton. And Clinton was more liberal than Nixon in his approach to administration.

Do something REAL: boycotts, strikes, direct actions. Working for multimillionnaire professional politicians has proven time and time again, no matter how "liberal" they claim to be, to be utterly useless.

It's your decision whether or not to bang your head on the wall until it's bloody. You don't have to do that.

Gringo 12.Jun.2004 15:10

George Bender

Yes, it's our decision what to do, but you're not willing to get out of our way and let us do it. Instead of trying, endlessly, to stop us from doing what we want to do, why don't you organize people to do what you want to do? You are being tedious and obstructive.

Nader is not talking about an endless occupation, U.N. or otherwise, of Iraq. He is talking about supervised elections, 6 months and out. With U.S. troops, mercenaries and corporations out, the occuplation would collapse. No other country is going to provide the troops to keep it going.

If bringing up facts is "obstructive"... 12.Jun.2004 16:57


...then I am one truly obstructive guy. Posting online is hardly "getting in the way."

I only hope that my perspective DOES give you pause, since we need EFFECTIVE action now more than ever, rather than self-serving conscience-based activity.

I am already organizing around non-electoral activity. The MOST frustrating thing is that so many people are still mired in the electoral mdoe of activity, despite overwhelming evidence that it is utterly useless.

George, your goals are right on, from what I can tell in the posts you make online. When you get bored of the futility and repeated failure of your current tactics, let me know.

The most frustrating thing to me 12.Jun.2004 20:24

George Bender

Is that most people on the left are not willing to organize and do anything. When some of us DO organize and try to do something, others, both left and right, jump up and down and scream "No, no, you're doing the wrong thing!" This is a very strong pattern on Portland IndyMedia, and it's hurting us all. It's like trying to walk with two little dogs chomping on your ankles.

I don't think we're diverting people from direct action into electoral politics. Most people are not going to do anything, no matter how much they're hurting. It's a fatal flaw in our culture, and in the American left.

The enemy of all organizers is doing nothing, not doing something.

They don't want a "UN Occupation" you idiots. 12.Jun.2004 22:44

Adammonte9000 adammonte9000@aol.com

An occupation is a takeover by another country or region. The UN is an organization of representatives of the world community. A "UN occupation" makes no sense! UN peacekeepers aren't occupiers. The situation in Iraq is an occupation because the country is being takenover by the US government and US corporations. Kucinich and Nader want a reversal of this, and want the Iraqis to have control over their country with the UN providing the resources necessary to rebuild their country. You guys need to grow up.

"peacekeepers" do NOT keep the peace 13.Jun.2004 00:49


Adam, you are completely wrong. UN "peacekeepers" have killed. Repeatedly. As well as the UN sanctions which have killed over 1.5 million Iraqi civilians, by the UN's own count, half of them children. The UN is not the saintly international coalition you believe it to be. They are a political organization who covers the US's ass.

An occupation is when foreigners control your country militarily. A UN occupation is precisely that. UN "peacekeepers" have slaughtered people in Bosnia - and they will do it in Iraq - in order to keep the "peace." And NONE of them will be Iraqis.

George, if you are annoyed, it is only because you see my point and you question your tactics. Otherwise, it wouldn't bother you. I'm just sick of war. I'm sick of politicians all saying what they did during Vietnam: "Well, we just can't LEAVE" as if the occupied country would shrivel up and die without the benevolent white man's presence.

NOPE, WRONG GRINGO 13.Jun.2004 23:12

Adammonte9000 adammonte9000@aol.com

"UN "peacekeepers" have killed. Repeatedly. As well as the UN sanctions which have killed over 1.5 million Iraqi civilians, by the UN's own count, half of them children."
Actually, those were basically US sanctions, and were put and kept in place because of the US.

"An occupation is when foreigners control your country militarily. A UN occupation is precisely that."

No it isn't. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! Kucinich's and Nader's plan is to have the Iraqis control their own military and their own country, but to have the UN supply the needs for the rebuilding, and to have UN peacekeepers in Iraq to help them rebuild. That's not an occupation. The UN isn't even a foreign country! nor an occupying force. It's a league of representatives from the world community. They're not a political organization to cover the US' ass. How can they "occupy" and takeover a country? If we pull out and the UN doesn't help the Iraqis, the war won't end, it'll continue. Is that what you want? And by the way, "peacekeepers" don't kill people. Please learn some facts and grow up. What exactly would satify you? You'd probably think Gandhi was a violent person! Jeez.

by the way 13.Jun.2004 23:40


Thanks to everyone who supported Dennis Kucinich, a giant step in ending the war in Iraq and also ending imperialism.

I suggest you educate yourself about Bosnia... 13.Jun.2004 23:55


...and then tell me how "peacekeepers don't kill people." It's not me who needs to grow out of an elementary-school vision of what the UN does. You should try having an adult conversation withouit spewing so much ignorant invective, Adam. The UN doesn't do much that would upset the US. Here, read some news:

There is no evidence that UN control would convince Iraqi resistance fighters to abandon their guerrilla war against the occupation forces.

The occupation forces in Iraq have already been "internationalised" beyond the initial US-British-Australian invasion force to include contingents of troops from 30 countries. Moreover, the UNSC has already endorsed the occupation of Iraq by a US-led "multinational force" through its unanimously adopted October 2003 Resolution 1511.

Despite this, on March 31, United Press International (UPI) reported that US military officials acknowledged there are "an average of 26 attacks against coalition troops every day", up from 22 attacks a day six months ago.

Rebadging the occupation forces as UN "peacekeepers" is unlikely to change their attitude to any foreign occupation force. Indeed, only 0.6% of those surveyed in the BBC-commissioned opinion poll said they wanted the UN to take charge of restoring public security in Iraq compared with 5.3% who said they support the US-controlled "Coalition Forces" fulfilling this task.

Sixty-two percent of those surveyed want this task as well as the tasks of economic reconstruction to be carried out by "Iraq", an "Iraqi government", the "Iraqi people" or the "Iraqi police".

While unwilling to hand over control of the Iraq occupation to the UNSC, the Bush administration is willing to have the UN bureaucracy headed by secretary-general Kofi Annan play a collaborative role.

Washington is keen to have the UN involved in the election of an Iraqi parliament later this year.

So how do the Iraqi people feel about the U.N.? Here is what Dennis Halliday, a former assistant secretary general and senior U.N. official in Iraq, who resigned in 1999 rather than administer the U.N. blockade, said: "In Iraq, the U.N. imposed sustained sanctions that probably killed up to one million people. Children were dying of malnutrition and water-borne diseases. The U.S. and U.K. bombed the infrastructure in 1991, destroying power, water, and sewage systems against the Geneva Convention. It was a great crime against Iraq.

"Thirteen years of sanctions made it impossible for Iraq to repair the damage. That is why we have such tremendous resentment and anger against the U.N. in Iraq. There is a sense that the U.N. humiliated the Iraqi people and society. I would use the term genocide to define the use of sanctions against Iraq. Several million Iraqis are suffering cancers because of the use of depleted uranium shells. That's an atrocity. Can you imagine the bitterness from all this?" (Scotland Sunday Herald, 8/24/03)

UN occupiers fueled ethnic tensions in Serbia:

Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering:

UN "peacekeepers" in Somalian tortured captives:

Bush administration tries to repackage occupation of Iraq
UN cover for U.S. power:

Adam - what would make me happy? For EVERYONE (who is not Iraqi) to get out of Iraq! How about that? Leave Iraq to Iraqis. Just a thought.

<<If we pull out and the UN doesn't help the Iraqis, the war won't end, it'll continue. Is that what you want?>>

The war Iraqis are waging is a war against OCCUPIERS OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY. If there are NO occupiers, there is NO WAR. Think, man.

Once again, you're wrong GRINGO 14.Jun.2004 00:51

Adammonte9000 adammonte9000@aol.com

"The war Iraqis are waging is a war against OCCUPIERS OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY. If there are NO occupiers, there is NO WAR. Think, man."

But there are occupiers, not just the US. There's evidence that Al-Queda and Islamic extremists are in IRaq. If the UN doesn't help and we just leave, they takeover the country perhaps, and war continues. And once again, any idiot knows that "peacekeepers" don't kill people. Those people in Bosnia you were talking about weren't UN "peacekeepers". Kucinich and Nader's plan is to take out all troops, US and foreign, and let the Iraqis run their own country, and to let the UN handle the necessary contracts and provide the resources necessary for rebuilding. Are you against that? I hope not. They want UN peacekeepers (not soldiers or troops) to help provide security and help with the reconstruction. Again, that's NOT an occupation, and that's NOT what happened in Bosnia or Vietnam. The UN isn't a nation or a miliarty power, once again. It's an organization of representatives that represent the world community, and they provide humanitarian aid and international law all over the world. I asked you how they can "occupy" a country, and you didn't answer. They can't The US, Britian, etc. can, and our troops right now are occupiers, and Kucinich and Nader want to withdraw all of them. And once again, those sanctions may have been UN imposed, but because of pressure from the US. Everyone knows they were US sanctions. You should know that.

"what would make me happy? For EVERYONE (who is not Iraqi) to get out of Iraq! How about that?"

Everyone? Including the Iraqis? HAHA, that makes no sense. You want Iraq to jsut be deserted land? Think!

PS. sorry if I insulted you when saying "grow up", I get a little pissed sometimes.

Oh shit, I missed one part 14.Jun.2004 00:57


"EVERYONE (who is not Iraqi) to get out of Iraq!"

Sorry, I missed the "who is not Iraqi" part. So should everyone who is not white leave the US? Once again, you make no sense

WHAT evidence? 14.Jun.2004 11:35


So you believe the corporate media's propaganda that Al Queda is taking over Iraq? What evidence do you have? Besides FOX news? Iraqis are PISSED OFF at the UN and the US for fucking them up so bad the past 12 years, and they are striking back. And whenever a population is occupied, they revert to the fundamentals of their society, which includes religion.

My point is: If Muslim fundamentalists take over Iraq - THAT IS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

Adam, you seem to take on "the white mans' burden" here, protecting the savages, etc. Why?

Polls indicate that Iraqis would rather have the US occupy them, instead of teh UN. Do you give a shit about what Iraqis want? Or are you, as their white Big Brother, more enlightened than them, so you know what they want better than they do? Polls indicate (did you read the articles I linked to above?)that they want everyone WHO IS NOT IRAQI out of their country. Silly me, I think the will of the Iraqis should be respected. Why don't you?

The UN killed over 1.5 million Iraqis under the Un sanctions. Iraqis DO NOT TRUST THE UN. They do NOT want the UN involved in the rebuilding of Iraq. THEY want to rebuild Iraq. They don't want foreigners to profit off of the rebuilding of Iraq, whether they are involved with the UN or the US orwhatever. They want MONEY (to rebuild) and TO BE LEFT ALONE.

Iraqis have recieved enough "help" from the UN and the US. They can do without such "help" from now on.

How can the UN occupy a country? Simple: when UN "peacekeepers" are the ONLY military force legally allowed in a nation, then that nation is occupied by the UN. Your logic is insipid: if a military force is not represented by ONE nation, then that military force can't possibly occupy a country? What are you on, Adam? Can I have some please?

The Iraqi military force wouldn't be represented by the UN 14.Jun.2004 21:44

Adammonte9000 adammonte9000@aol.com

The Iraqi military force wouldn't be represented by the UN under Kucinich's plan, or Nader's. That's what you're missing. Understand GRINGO, I never said Kucinich's or Nader's plan was perfect, or that it's what I would do. I was saying that you're too pesimistic, Nader and Kucinich don't want any occupation of Iraq, US or UN. They want IRaqis to have their own military force, their own government, etc. They just want the UN to provide any resources and peacekeepers necessary to help the rebuilding. Is this guarenteed to work? No. But anything we do now is not guarenteed to work. It was wrong to go into Iraq, and now it's not easy to come up with a plan to fix the damage that's been done, but Kucinich and Nader do support ending the war immediately and that's good enough.

Why don't Nader or Kucinich give a damn about what IRAQIS want? 15.Jun.2004 01:11


Iraqis have made it clear that they do NOT want the US *OR THE UN* in their country:

"...now it's not easy to come up with a plan to fix the damage that's been done..."

It's None of our business whatsoever. And the Iraqis have let the world know this repeatedly.

"Kucinich and Nader do support ending the war immediately and that's good enough"

No, those two capitalists want the UN in Iraq. Which is NOT what Iraq wants. Which would prolong the war. Those two capitalists are ignorant.