One of my favorite book series is The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett . Dunnett is very likely the greatest writer of historical fiction of all time, and she has not written anything that I have not loved and read multiple times. In the third book of that series, The Disorderly Knights, Dunnett's incomparable hero, Francis Crawford of Lymond, battles Sir Graham Malett, a knight beloved by all as saintly and good, but who is actually the personification of a subtle, powerful, and pervasive evil. Crawford alone has recognized Malett for what he is and must use all his intellectual and physical resources to convince everyone else of Malett's true nature, before it is too late.
At a critical point in the novel, when it finally becomes clear to all that Malett--known as "Gabriel" because of his holiness-- was truly evil and not good, One character asks another, "but how could he [Crawford] guess, more than any of us could what Gabriel was?"
"Shall I tell you," said Nicholas de Nicolay, flinging out his elderly arms, "why Lymond first began to hate--to hate, mark you--your sacerdotal friend? He has told me. It was when, whatever haven he offered them overnight, Graham Malett allowed to return all the women and children of Gozo." [editorial note: these women and children were later slaughtered because of this action]
"He couldn't have prevented it," said Jerrott blindly. The Grand Master was in charge. The Spanish knights alone more than outnumbered us."
"Mr. Crawford does not dispute it," said Nicolay gently. "He says merely, that if Gabriel were all he appeared to be, he should have died on the landing stage."
This powerful scene keeps coming into my mind every time I read about the U.N. and Darfur. David Brooks observes:
And so we Americans mustered our outrage at the massacres in Darfur and went to the United Nations. And calls were issued and exhortations were made and platitudes spread like béarnaise. The great hum of diplomacy signaled that the global community was whirring into action.
Meanwhile helicopter gunships were strafing children in Darfur.
We did everything basically right. The president was involved, the secretary of state was bold and clearheaded, the U.N. ambassador was eloquent, and the Congress was united. And, following the strictures of international law, we had the debate that, of course, is going to be the top priority while planes are bombing villages.
We had a discussion over whether the extermination of human beings in this instance is sufficiently concentrated to meet the technical definition of genocide. For if it is, then the "competent organs of the United Nations" may be called in to take appropriate action, and you know how fearsome the competent organs may be when they may indeed be called.
The United States said the killing in Darfur was indeed genocide, the Europeans weren't so sure, and the Arab League said definitely not, and hairs were split and legalisms were parsed, and the debate over how many corpses you can fit on the head of a pin proceeded in stentorian tones while the mass extermination of human beings continued at a pace that may or may not rise to the level of genocide.
For people are still starving and perishing in Darfur.
Meanwhile the U.N. Secretary General is on record as saying recently that the U.S. -led war in Iraq was "illegal" and one can only conclude that he prefers a homicidal dictator torturing his people to the possibility of the horror of democracy. And, while the Secretary General tries to focus the limelight on U.S. actions as a diversion for the ever-expanding scandal of "Oil for Food" and "Oil for Terrorism" that all levels of U.N. personnel were involved in; the mullahs of Iran are mounting a campaign to have one of their number become a candidate for the next Secretary General (this is perfectly consistent with having Libya and other dictatorships control the "human rights" committee at the U.N.
If the U.N. were really what they advertise themselves to be, they should have already intervened in Darfur. They should have intervened years ago to save the Iraqi people, instead of ghoulishly profiting from their misery. They should have told the mullahs of Iran and dictators all over the world that their organization cannot be used to justify and succor totalitarian regimes. They should have been the driving force in the world for democracy, freedom and human dignity, above all else.
While Kofi Annan prances around intoning moral judgements about the U.S. and Israel, he remains curiously silent about Darfur; about oppression in Iran; about suicide bombers in Gaza. At the same time, the Security Council makes its empty threats about Iran's and North Korea's nuclear weapons.
Do you begin to get my drift? I am certainly not the first to say it, and hopefully I won't be the last. The United Nations has become a tool of evil--if not actually a source of evil itself. Like Dunnett's "Gabriel", who pretends to recite prayers and do good; their endless tolerance and infinite patience with regimes that oppress and kill; their enabling of despots and apologies for murder; all are designed to covers over a rotton core of malevolent ambition and greed. Like Gabriel, they are "a power for evil, effortlessly sustained, which could come only from a mind totally warped."
Instead of promoting world peace, the U.N. has become the greatest impediment to it. It is time for the U.S. to accept this reality and act accordingly.