If a joke could carry this kind of financial and human price tag, the United Nations would be the punch line.
But what has occurred on the United Nations' watch over its first 60 years is, instead, a trail of tears and blood and lost opportunities and miserable leadership.
Now, as the United Nations limps into its biennial budget, a group of U.S. senators including Georgia's Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson is suggesting that before Kofi Annan starts counting his money, he should maybe be a little more accountable.
"It is not our desire to withhold funding," the senators say in a compelling letter to John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "On the contrary, we believe reform is essential for the U.N.'s survival as an institution. We cannot afford to let this moment of opportunity for U.N. reform slip by."
Bolton himself has suggested an interim four-month budget for the United Nations while reforms are considered, a thought instantly rejected by the bureaucracy.
The senators' letter isn't an attack on the United Nations, though that would be perfectly justified. Instead, they are merely seeking to save the United Nations from itself - something the world body couldn't bring itself to do at a supposedly reform-minded summit in Septem-ber.
In the letter, the senators make a truncated but powerful case for U.N. reform, including:
- the Oil for Food scandal, which "reaches up to the highest levels of the U.N. structure";
- the rapes of refugees by U.N. peacekeepers;
- a tireless anti-Israel campaign by the United Nations itself - including "the removal of Israel from a map in a major U.N. meeting Nov. 29, 2005."
- the outrageous fact that some of the worst perpetrators of human rights violations sit on the U.N. Human Rights Commission;
- the U.N. failure to stop genocide in Sudan.
We're proud of our Georgia senators for joining in the effort to leverage U.N. reform. And we hope they will indeed consider withholding money to force change.
We're frankly perplexed that the rest of the nation isn't more outraged at the rat hole with the fancy flags we've been throwing money down the past 60 years.
The tragic tale of the United Nations' many failures is told in a powerful new documentary called Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60. The film - infinitely more important and honest than the anti-American Fahrenheit 9-11, but without the powerful liberal press behind it - hit theaters in only a few cities in November before being released on DVD at Thanksgiving (see www.brokenpromisesmovie.com).
America is funding a 22-percent share of a corrupt-as-the-day-is-long, anti-American, anti-Israeli, sad-sack silo of bureaucrats.
Not another dime until things change.