President Bush is again talking about going it alone, and he can expect to get hammered for it again.

But this time it's different. This time he did go to the U.N., and he asked nice just like the world community wanted. They said they wanted to be asked, but then when they were asked, they said no.

So now bush — and even the saint of multilateralism, Colin Powell — are both hinting that maybe the U.S. will go it alone, or go it with a few allies — too few to say the world community has given its approval.

So what did the U.N. want? It wanted to be asked, not so it could think about it and grant world permission, but so it could deny permission.

This after its own weapons inspector, Hans Blix, told the Security Council his inspectors could not do their jobs properly unless the inspections were intrusive and backed with the credible threat of force.

So now Bush and Powell have had to watch the U.N. dither for six weeks, and they have to decide if they want to watch the U.N. dither away the entire war season and watch American troops cook in the desert heat next summer.

So push is coming to shove, as predicted in many quarters. The professional stallers at the U.N. have done it again. If the U.N. is going to be an organization that does not take its most important member seriously, then its most important member shouldn't take it seriously.

Sorry, but I think the U.N. should shape up, and start with the Iraq resolution.

That's My Word .

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