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From UPI ” Comments by Secretary of State Colin Powell to a Congressional panel Wednesday indicated that the Bush administration is unwilling to completely cede control of the post-war reconstruction effort to the United Nations. But Powell did say that the United Nations should play some role, especially in funding the rebuilding of Iraq.

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the liberal Institute for Policy Studies, said Powell’s testimony made it clear that the White House has no intention of sharing power with the United Nations except in an attempt to gain some international credibility for its military occupation of Iraq.

“The administration’s view is to use the United Nations as support cover, a political fig leaf to allow other governments to give money to the reconstruction effort and not have it look like America is going it alone,” said Bennis. “That is a serious problem.”

Bennis said the United Nations should be a central part of the effort to rebuild war-torn Iraq, but also indicated that she was worried that United Nations participation would ultimately legitimize the type of U.S. policies that lead to the invasion.

“There will have to be new government agencies and institutions, and I think the United Nations is well suited to helping Iraqis plan that out,” she said. “That can’t be imposed by U.S. tanks if it is going to have any legitimacy to it.”

Actually Ms. Bennis, it can. ” Legitimacy ” is vested in sovereign governments and the UN is not a world legislature however much the Social Democratic left has tried to stretch the UN charter during the last ten years. The UN does not grant legitimacy and often recognizes as ” legitimate ” powerless phantom governments of psuedo- nations that are hardly more than geographic expressions. The UN is a political forum, a handy umbrella for a variety of humanitarian agencies and a useful rubber stamp on the rare occasions a consensus exists among all the Security Council members. That and no more. Iraq will have a legitimate government when Saddam Hussein is dead and a democratically elected government replaces his clique of murdering thugs. If matters were left to the UN, Saddam would be torturing his people until the day he dies of old age.

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