Friend Right After All, Sadly

In a fit of optimism last month, I published evidence that my gloomy Afghan friend was mistaken in his judgment that Afghanistan was in very bad way. Michael Yon (and by the way, when does he get his medal of freedom? Could Iraq have been won without him?), however, says we're losing there.
I wish I could say the same for Afghanistan. But that war we clearly are losing: I am preparing to go there and see the situation for myself. My friends and contacts who have a good understanding of Afghanistan are, to a man, pessimistic about the current situation. Interestingly, however, every one of them believes that Afghanistan can be turned into a success. They all say we need to change our approach, but in the long-term Afghanistan can stand on its own. The sources range from four-stars to civilians from the United States, Great Britain and other places. A couple years ago, some of these sources believed that defeat was imminent in Iraq. They were nearly right about Iraq, although some of them knew far less about Iraq than they do about Afghanistan. But it's clear that hard days are ahead in Afghanistan. We just lost nine of our soldiers in a single firefight, where the enemy entered a base and nearly overran it.

The news from Afghanistan is reason for pessimism. For some more optimistic news, please look at these statistics from Iraq, and remember that if we could turn things around in that country, we might be able to do the same in Afghanistan.
Which leads me to renew my question prompted by that lunch with my friend:
common wisdom is that Afghanistan is the Just War that is going well and Iraq is the disaster that's been mishandled from the get-go. I wonder if history will vindicate that view.
I also find myself developing a taste for Empire. So far it's only facetious, but don't push me. Over at ninme's place we find this (she's had by far the best sustained coverage of the situation in Zimbabwe, by the by), speaking about the West's recent humiliating defeat in the UN with respect to Mugabe:
the UN is structurally incapable of acting in accordance with the dictates of civilised behaviour. Whether it is its failure to stand up to the Burmese regime or to deal with the threat to Israel posed by a nuclear Iran, or its support for Hezbollah, the UN has shown itself to be not the promoter but the enemy of human rights.
The author continues:
The most bizarre reaction to the Security Council's rejection of sanctions is disappointment. Could anyone seriously expect the Chinese Government, which locks up and tortures dissidents and props up the Mugabe regime to further its own economic interests, to overturn decades of foreign policy and act in support of democracy and human rights? In 2005 the Chinese signed an aid agreement with Zimbabwe and made an explicit promise not to interfere in its “internal affairs”, saying that it “trusts Zimbabwe's Government and people have the ability to deal properly with their own matters”.

The idea that the UN holds some special legitimacy and moral worth is not merely naive - it can make a bad situation worse. Mugabe now claims that he has been exonerated by the UN. Had the UN not existed, no attention would be paid to the failure of Russia and China to criticise him, because that is entirely to be expected. And if, as they should, the EU's member states were to impose stronger sanctions, that would not be seen as somehow in opposition to the UN.

The problem with the UN is, as ninme likes to point out, citing Mark Steyn, if an action is right, it doesn't cease to become so because the Chinese & Russian guys don't raise their hands. So effectively the UN is an instrument of human rights abuse --and that's before we start talking about widespread corruption in its bureaucracy, and the tendency of peace-keeping forces to rape their young charges or start pedophile rings in the Congo, Bosnia, Cambodia & East Timor, Sudan & Haiti, the Ivory Coast, Etc., etc.

And now NATO's rather botching Afghanistan. Sigh. Clearly the English-speaking peoples need to rule the world: US, Great Britain, Oz --with Canada on probation because of the HRCs. Not sure what to do with Israel & India, though.