Obama's UN nominee slams body's inaction on Syria

Wednesday - 7/17/2013, 4:30pm EDT

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. nominee Samantha Power testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

BRADLEY KLAPPER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's choice as U.N. ambassador acknowledged Wednesday that the United Nations was unlikely to take decisive action soon to halt Syria's civil war, and she pledged to work to eliminate what she termed the organization's anti-Israel "bias."

Samantha Power also said that if confirmed by the Senate, she would try to make the U.N. more efficient and stand up for freedom.

Her confirmation appeared likely. Several Republicans said Power would be a force in New York even as they pressed the former journalist, human rights campaigner and author to clarify several decade-old comments that the lawmakers suggested were critical of Israel or the United States.

Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her examination of the U.S. response to genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s, long has advocated military and other forms of intervention to prevent mass atrocities. She helped make the case for Obama's decision to deploy American air assets to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from power in 2011.

On Wednesday she expressed little confidence in the U.N. authorizing any similar intervention in Syria but said Washington could act on its own, if necessary.

"The failure of the U.N. Security Council to respond to the slaughter in Syria is a disgrace that history will judge harshly," Power told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But pressed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., she acknowledged that any forceful action was unlikely from an organization that, because of the veto power of Russia and China, hasn't penalized Syrian President Bashar Assad or even condemned his government's role in a 2
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