View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Iraq is "poised" (as though this were the talent portion of a beauty pageant) to take the chair of the UN Disarmament Conference. Richard Boucher, in a rare moment of outrage directed at someone other than the press corps, called this "unacceptable." Now that Colin Powell is moving into support for the United States, Boucher can say this sort of thing without fear of having to eat alone at the State Department cafeteria. On one hand, this could be conceived as offensive. On the other hand, who knows more than Iraq about disarmament and how countries might seek to avoid it?

My favorite line in the story:

However, Boucher said the United States may have no options in allowing the conference to be headed by Iraq. The leadership rotates monthly in an alphabetical order, and there is no way to remove Iraq from the alphabet or the lineup.

The best way to avoid this obvious conflict of interest is to change who gets to appoint the representative. Maybe by the time Iraq takes over, they'll actually be in compliance.

The first, most obvious reminder is of Libya running the UN Human Right Commission, but the UN has been doing this sort of thing for decades. They hold a conference on population control in Egypt, a conference on Women's Rights in China, Home of the Forced Abortion (no word on whether they charge for the needle), and a conference on AIDS in South Africa, where the leader of the country stands in noble opposition to every shred of medical knowledge on the subject. Is there a UN High Commissioner for Irony?

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