Posted 9:52pm September 11
by Richard Pugh
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
In what appears to be the Bush Administration’s first attempt at coalition building and international cooperation in the war in Iraq, the administration will now seek limited United Nations help in the aftermath of major conflict.
The change in American attitude has precipitated from many issues. Since the beginning of the war, in March, over 300 American soldiers have died in combat. Since July 2, when President Bush announced that major combat was over, 86 young men and woman have fallen in combat.
Critics have seen the change as far too little, far too late. International approval of the United States and its foreign policy has hit an all-time low, with former allies turning against the United States’ Iraq policies.
Bush, who faces reelection next year, has seen his personal approval rating drop from 63 percent to 52 percent over the summer, according to a Time Magazine/CNN poll.
The poll found an even split on whether the war was worth the toll in young American lives and financial costs, with 49 percent saying yes and 43 percent saying no. That same poll, however, found that 72 percent of Americans believed we have done a “good job” in Iraq and 63 percent still believe going to war in Iraq was the right decision.
In what has been seen as President Bush’s highest liability in the war in Iraq, he has asked the Congress to allocate $87 billion, in order to facilitate a safe occupation in Iraq, as well as maintain stability and peace in Afghanistan.
Supporters of Bush say this shows his willingness to follow through with the job, while critics claim this is an exorbitant amount of money to ask of a nation that is facing record deficits.
The United States’ strongest ally, Great Britain, also pledged to double its troops in Iraq, a response to Bush’s appeal for more international forces in the region.
On Sept. 13, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will approach the Security Council’s 15 member nations on the United States’ resolution to authorize a united front in rebuilding Iraq. Security Council member states have said their main priority is to get control of Iraq into Iraqi hands as fast as possible, while maintaining safety.
“We should promote a U.N. Security Council resolution that would give the United Nations the same kind of control in Iraq that it has had in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. However, we should insist simultaneously that NATO run the military mission. We should further insist that U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer be U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s first special representative in Iraq,” said Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.