A new love for the United Nations?

The Bush administration, desperate to avoid an admission of fallacy, has backtracked significantly this week on its reasons for invading Iraq.

With the release of a 900-page report on the faltering status of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, the administration has now begun to spin the real reason for the invasion. Now they claim it was not the “links to al-Qaeda,” nor the “great and gathering threat” posed by the itinerant dictator, but instead that Hussein was dodging the rule of the United Nations.

This amazing turnabout (Karl Rove might call it a “flip-flop”) comes from a president who has spent the better part of four years denouncing the United Nations as a valid option for meting out global conflicts.

If the real reason for invading Iraq was that Hussein was allegedly “gaming the system” by using the Oil for Food program to gain status and income in an attempt to revitalize his weapons program, then why wasn’t the United Nations involved in the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

Presumably, using the administration’s logic, the United Nations is so ineffective as to be unwilling to react to such a devastatingly threatening move on the part of one of its member countries.

But perhaps it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Perhaps this alleged “gaming of the system” was not, in fact, a “great and gathering threat” but merely a problematic development that was to be worked out through sanctions negotiation.

Regardless of any plan the United Nations could construct to deal with the sly dictator, the deceptive stance of the Bush administration is a problem for each U.S. citizen to ponder heading into this election cycle.

No longer can isolationists vote in good conscience for George W. Bush, for it is clear that his once hard-lined unilateral approach to foreign policy is crumbling.

Bush has named Poland in recent speeches more often than most states in the union.

What he still refuses to say, however, is how his policies have changed.

Apparently if a candidate refuses to acknowledge a drastic change in message and policy, they are not guilty of a “flip-flop,” only of being wrong then and being right now.

Mistakes? Despite his refusal to own up to any in last Friday’s debate, Bush has made his share. We all do, it’s human nature. What separates good leaders from bad ones is the ability to admit, identify and fix them as soon as possible.

President Bush’s attempt to avoid by changing his rationale for war after the fact should trouble all voters.

The first step to learning from mistakes or correcting problems is acknowledging them. That’s the unilateral action that President Bush should truly consider.