U.S. must offer more
to get U.N. help in Iraq


The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for establishment of a U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq.

AMERICAN diplomats won a significant victory in the United Nations with a unanimous Security Council endorsement of a resolution establishing a U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq. While the resolution also appeals to member nations to provide troops and money to the effort, they will not quickly line up to do so. The United States will have to share more responsibility with the U.N. to bring the level of international involvement to the desired level.

Russia, Germany and France, all of whom had opposed the U.S. attack on Iraq, joined in yesterday's unanimous vote, but with neither enthusiasm nor substance. In a joint statement, their ambassadors said: "The conditions are not created for us to envisage any military commitment and no further financial conditions beyond our present engagement," which is next to nil.

The three countries said the resolution should have expanded the United Nations' role and accelerated the transfer of power to Iraq. The resolution slightly expands the U.N.'s political role but still keeps it subordinate to the United States. It sets a Dec. 15 deadline for the Iraqi Governing Council to provide the Security Council with a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding elections.

Even Pakistan, which had indicated its willingness to send troops to Iraq under a U.N. mandate, is aloof. The U.S.-led multinational force intended to be created by the resolution does not have "a separate and distinct identity" from the current troop makeup, its ambassador said.

U.S. and British diplomats will learn more about the effects of the resolution at a conference next week in Madrid, where they hope to receive commitments of troops and money from other nations. At this point, European Union members have offered only $232 million during the next year.

When the Bush administration began lobbying Security Council members six weeks ago to support a resolution, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan remarked that "a U.N.-mandated multinational force operating on the ground" would "imply not just burden-sharing but also sharing decisions and responsibility." The resolution approved by the Security Council calls for no such sharing, and American troops will remain stretched thin until the administration agrees to a truly international effort in Iraq.


Censorship wrong way
to protect kids online


The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a federal law making it a crime for a commercial Web site to make sexually explicit material available to children.

CONGRESS has struggled for years to come up with a way to shield children from Internet pornography without infringing on adults' free-speech rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed the attempts twice and has agreed to take a third look, but it should find again that government censorship is not the best way to protect children.

The 1996 Communications Decency Act sought to ban "indecent" messages and "patently offensive" sexual material aimed at people younger than 18 throughout the Net, not only on commercial Web sites but on nonprofit sites and in chat rooms. The Supreme Court struck that down after concluding that it would restrict adults to seeing "only what is fit for children."

Congress responded with the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which tried to apply "community standards" to censor commercial Web sites. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down that law, ruling that the entire country should not be subjected to the standards of its most puritanical community.

An inconclusive Supreme Court returned that decision to the 3rd Circuit. The appeals court then issued a broader ruling that the law "is not narrowly tailored to proscribe commercial pornographers and their ilk, as the government contends, but instead prohibits a wide range of (constitutionally) protected expression."

A glance at the plaintiffs in the case provides an indication of those problems. The American Civil Liberties Union is joined by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression,,, Philadelphia Gay News and the Internet Content Coalition. These are not purveyors of pornography, but rather institutions that operate Web sites about a variety of subjects including medical information and safe sex.

At some point, Congress should understand that government censorship aimed at protecting children inevitably will restrict the free-speech rights of others. Greater efforts should be made to provide parents with the knowledge and the tools, such as Internet filters, to take responsibility for their children's welfare.

The most promising legislation to have been enacted in that area is the Dot Kids Act, creating a "" subdomain of the ".us" (U.S.) Web domain name. President Bush signed the bill into law in December. NeuStar Inc., a Washington-based firm that manages the country-code domain, began accepting registrations last month for inclusion in a domain geared to children under age 13. The domain's policy bans pornography, violence, hate speech, gambling and inappropriate language. The fledgling domain's home page is at



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