There have already been a few diaries today about the nearly unprecedented speech given by Kofi Annan which gave the Bush administration the “purple finger” in his final address as Secretary-General of the UN. And while this is news in and of itself – how often does an outgoing Secretary-General be anything other than diplomatic – there is an angle that I found real interesting, which serves as just another example of how poorly Bush and his band of war criminals can’t play well in the sandbox with just about everyone.
The obvious one is that shortly after Bush entered office (December 2001), Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, yet was immediately at odds with Bush and the neocons who wanted to
take over the entire Middle East and steal all of the oil “liberate” the Iraqis from an evil evil man who had WMDs, er, planned the 9/11 attacks, er, tried to kill Bush’s daddy once.
The not quite as obvious one is the minor fact that Annan was the US backed choice to succeed Boutros Boutros-Ghali in the first place. In fact, it was more than just support:
The world widely embraced Kofi Annan of Ghana on Saturday as next U.N. secretary-general, hailing him as someone who can reform the bloated and bureaucratic world body.
France, while offering an olive branch of support, defended its initial opposition to the U.S. favorite, who hails from an English-speaking country and attended schools in the United States.
So, here we have someone that was wholeheartedly embraced by the UN Security Council not once but a second time just one year after Bush took office, yet in the four short years since his second term started, this administration has managed to make this Nobel Peace Prize winner come out with statements like the following:
"The U.S. does seem to have a lower threshold than the others may have" for what constitutes a breach, he said. "The key is that whatever we do must have broad support from allies and the public." If there is a decision to go to war against Iraq, he said, "the reasons must be seen as reasonable, credible and not contrived."
That one was obviously from late 2002, right before the illegal invasion of Iraq. Or this one about Iraq from late 2004:
Q: So you don't think there was legal authority for the war?
A: I have stated clearly that it was not in conformity with the Security Council - with the UN Charter.
Q: It was illegal?
A: Yes, if you wish.
Q: It was illegal?
A: Yes, I have indicated it is not in conformity with the UN Charter, from our point of view and from the Charter point of view it was illegal.
And these three nuggets from today’s speech:
When "military force is used, the world at large will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose ... in accordance with broadly accepted norms."
The speech continues that "governments must be accountable for their actions in the international arena, as well as in the domestic one."
Annan acknowledges terrorism and other global threats but cautions against nations acting alone. "Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others,"
Now, say what you will about Annan, but the fact is, he was pretty much right on point, as most of us were, about Iraq. And about what should not be done, as well as the hypocrisy of the US bullying efforts. But for me, the big takeaway from his speech (and is confirmed even more by the outrage from Right Wingnutistan) is the fact that here is someone that the US supported wholeheartedly on two occasions – once even during the early stages of the Bush administration.
And yet here we are a few short years later, and the outgoing Secretary-General of the UN – a man whose efforts have landed him the Nobel Peace Prize – is lambasting the same country that supported him at the beginning for its warmongering and bullying tactics, well, that screams of irony to me.
Which is just the latest in a long string of examples of how much this administration has ruined the US’ credibility in every corner of the globe.