03 December 2004


[source, source]

“He was almost a saint-like character, clearly the most respected UN leader since Dag Hammarskjold,” said Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, referring to the Swedish Secretary General of the 1950s long considered the post’s most distinguished occupant.

Today Annan is the embattled head of an organization at odds with its most powerful constituent, the United States, and the object of such personal scorn that critics of the United Nations - chief among them Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, whose Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is scrutinizing the scandal-ridden United Nations oil-for-food program - are calling on him to resign.

Diplomats at the United Nations, caught by surprise at the broad assault on the organization and Annan, are alarmed at evidence that a campaign they felt was confined to conservative Republicans angry over UN opposition to the Bush administration invasion of Iraq is spreading so rapidly.

“The danger now is that a group of people who want to destroy or paralyze the UN are beginning to pick up support from some of those whose goal is to reform it,” said Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton, and an Annan booster.

Annan was considered “saint-like” after presiding over the genocide in Rwanda? And the UN staff thinks that the only reason the UN in unpopular on the American Street is their fecklessness over the invasion of Iraq? Given how rapidly the “campaign” is spreading, shouldn’t the UN be asking itself “why do they hate us”?

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