After the Iraqi army folds like a pressed kerchief, the next step will be rebuilding Iraq.
The next step after that will be rebuilding the United Nations.
Let's face it: The United Nations is broken. It's outdated. Its word means nothing - as Iraq's string of 17 ignored U.N. resolutions proves conclusively.
Worst of all, the United Nations is beyond irrelevant: It is getting in the way of world peace and security. Its endless haggling and obstruction of a U.S.-led effort to rid the world of terrorist-supporting regimes thirsty for weapons of mass destruction actually makes the world more dangerous.
The problem is inherent: Much of the world is undemocratic and, quite incoherently, nostalgic for a time when a continent-sized prison called the Soviet Union blunted American power and freedom.
In short, the United Nations is working against nearly every American interest and, in the process, is making the world more dangerous, not less.
It may be fixable, but only by radical change.
For one thing, its structure must be reformed from scratch. There is no earthly reason, for example, for erstwhile world power France to have the kind of veto authority it yields as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. It wasn't warranted 50 years ago, and it is less so today.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer writes that the alliance system frozen in time by NATO and the United Nations "died some years ago, but ... (the) obituary was written only this year. In French, with German footnotes."
If the United Nations were only a debating society, as its critics like to call it, it might be harmless enough. But the U.S. decision to kiss the ring of Kofi Annan and seek U.N. permission to defend itself against terrorism has hurt U.S. interests - by giving Saddam Hussein months more to set traps for U.S. troops - and has revealed the United Nations to be brain dead.
After the shooting stops in Iraq, it's time to take the United Nations off life support.