June 30, 2004


“Let freedom reign,” wrote President Bush as Iraq regained sovereignty Monday.

“Today, the secretary-general welcomes the state of Iraq back into the family of independent and sovereign nations,” said a United Nations statement.

In the gap between those two statements, you can see the world of difference that lies between the U.S. and the U.N. in approaching the worst troubles of our time. For America, and Mr. Bush, the struggles now upon us are basically about freedom, and rule of, by and for the people. For the U.N., and Mr. Annan, it is all about paternalism, consensus, family. And I’m sorry to say that the family that springs first to mind has a lot less to do with Gramps, Grandma and the kids than with the Mafia clan of TV fiction fame, the Sopranos.

Close, but no cigar. Actually, I think it’s more like this family:

The former underboss of the Bonanno crime family yesterday detailed the murders of three capos — allegedly orchestrated by his brother-in-law and boss, Joseph Massino — that called for him and a team of masked hit men to burst from a closet in a social club, armed with of pistols and a machine gun, to carry out the slayings.

But turncoat Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale admitted his job was marginalized to simply “guarding the door” with his tommy gun after he goofed up and hit the trigger as the thugs were setting up, spraying a wall with gunfire.

Criminal, and dangerous in a way, but not terribly competent.

UPDATE: Yes, it’s the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. “Five years after international armed intervention and UN administration, Kosovo doesn’t even have an effective police force, and no one wants to speculate on its ‘final status.’ This past March, as ethnic violence flared up again and Albanians attacked Serb homes, businesses and churches (a reversal of 1999’s violence), UN ‘peacekeeping’ forces essentially stood by and allowed mobs to continue their destruction. ”

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