Well, They Misinterpret the Constitution, Why Not the UN Charter?

Posted on February 1, 2011

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It’s become a hobby of the dumb-as-hammers-angry-as-a-bag-of-cats authoritarian right wing to misinterpret and misquote the constitution. I think The Onion hit just the right note with this “Area Man Passionate Defender of What he Imagines the Constitution to be” piece:

…Mortensen said his admiration for the loose assemblage of vague half-notions he calls the Constitution has only grown over time. He believes that each detail he has pulled from thin air—from prohibitions on sodomy and flag-burning, to mandatory crackdowns on immigrants, to the right of citizens not to have their hard-earned income confiscated in the form of taxes—has contributed to making it the best framework for governance “since the Ten Commandments.”

Well, Mortenson’s real life counterpart, Florida Rep. Illeana Ros-Litenen, proudly boasts a similar half-baked notion of what the United Nations is around to do.  In sponsoring legislation to de-fund the UN (for perhaps the one thousandth time in recent GOP history) Ros-Litenen says that the UN’s purpose should be to “advance America’s interests”… and… “uphold America’s values” if it wants the US to pony up its fair share of revenue.

Oddly, the United Nations was not ostensibly created to be a personal assistant to the American Empire. Article 1 of the UN Charter states the UN’s purpose clearly:

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Granted, all these would seem to be the opposite of American values and interests, that is if self-centered and aggressive American policies, actions and eternal warfare are any guide. Alternately, Ros-Litenen has proposed a softer stance whereby

“U.S. taxpayers can pay for the U.N. programs and activities that advance our interests and values, and if other countries want different things to be funded, they can pay for it themselves.”

Be that as it may, Ros-Litenen should just be honest and say she wants to change UN Charter Article 1 to Purpose: Whatever America Wants at any Given Time and if You Don’t Like it You Can Go Over to the Other End of the UN and Play with Your Other Friends”

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