Tuesday, July 13, 2004

July 13, 2004 - "Inside the Asylum", Yes the UN still sucks.

Today's Commentary: July 13th, 2004

Hello Thinkers!

It is book review time. I recently finished "Inside the Asylum" by Jeb Babbin, who was a deputy undersecretary of defense for President Bush 41. His work is subtitled 'Why the United Nations and Old Europe are Worse than You Think.' The book was a pretty quick read at about 140 pages before the notes section and reinforced many of the ideas that I believe in. Chances are, by virtue of the fact that you are reading this, you probably believe them too.

Mr. Babbin asserts that the UN has become the leverage by which despotic, 3rd world regimes attempt to hold the US in check. Since economically and militarily, these nations stand the same chance against the US as a pair of edible boys briefs stand surviving the night at a NeverLand Ranch sleepover, these banana republics fight us with their most viable option, Kofi and Company. "Inside the Asylum" also describes the confusion which surrounded our troops when they discovered shiny new and almost new military hardware behind Iraqi lines with "Made in France" stamped on the side. To be fair, some of the weaponry also said "Made in Germany", and a few were marked with something written in Russian. Other interesting anecdotes included how hard working the Iraqis were who staffed the UN Oil-for-Food HQ in Baghdad. These busy beavers were very helpful as they ran the switchboard, fax machines and photocopy rooms.

But while the stories are an outrageous indictment of the corrupt sham that the UN and some European 'allies' have become, it didn't surprise me. Maybe that's because I've become a jaded, cantankerous old fart (but for now, still a 39 year old fart). I have come to expect that the UN is a joke when it allows Sudan, Cuba, China, Zimbabwe and similar havens of free speech to be on their Human Rights Commission. I expect a forum that allowed Uganda's dictator Idi Amin to call for the extermination of Israel to be a farce. I expect uselessness from an organization that allows the post-menopausal barroom skank known as France to delude itself into thinking it still has some charm by giving it the keys to the men's bathroom - in the form of UN security council veto power.

And now (permit me a short digression from the book review), Kofi Annan has endeared himself yet again to American taxpayers by demanding the US devote even more money to the fight against AIDS. "We really do need leadership. America has a natural leadership capacity because of its resources, because of its size," Kofi said.


Wrong Kofi. America has a natural leadership capacity because it is a nation that allows for free enterprise, rule of law and -albeit less then optimal, limited government. Many African nations are very rich in natural resources but allow their people to live in squalid poverty because they are socialist dictatorships. Nations such as Ireland and Japan prosper not because of natural resources or size, but because of ideologies and policies similar to our own.

Kofi wants to see "international solidarity" by pooling of 'efforts' - a.k.a. your cash. No doubt he envisions UN control over the $15 billion in US taxpayer funds promised by President Bush. However, according to the BBC article, the US wants control in how this money is spent. How rude of the administration to think that money to fight AIDS is not best spent lining the pockets of UN bureaucrats!

Sorry, off on a tangent there... back to the book.

One of Jeb Babbins story lines that did educate me was about a Bush initiative announced in May 2003 called the Proliferation Security Initiative or PSI. The PSI will attempt to do what the bloated rat's nest at the UN will not - stop the proliferation of WMD among rogue nations. Somehow Dan bin Rather and the news hounds at the Al-CBS network glossed over this story. Eleven nations, operating independently of the UN, are taking active roles to intercept and disable WMD and their components before they can get into lawless hands.

In fact their first public trophy over the mantle is Libya. While Muammar Qadafi's decision to disarm made national headlines, the story behind his decision was not known - at least to me, and I expect a few others. According to "Inside the Asylum", Libya did not simply surrender their centrifuges. A Libya-bound vessel was docked in Italy when it was boarded and searched by Italian authorities and the cargo was seized (Italy is a member of the PSI). Caught with his hand in the uranium jar, Qadafi decided to disarm. Negotiation didn't cause this, action did.

Looking back on this book, maybe I was being too harsh by saying it was not surprising. It was. I have over a dozen Post-It notes inside a text of about 140 pages. I also have alot of notes in the margins. I would probably suggest waiting for the paperback or to see if the hardcover price drops from $27. I would certainly recommend it then.

Maybe my less than ecstatic response for what is a good book was less a result of my jaded disposition and more a function of the fact that I had several days off over July 4th when I read "Inside the Asylum." You remember July 4th - the day when we celebrate our independence - or at least what's left of it.


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