Jump to content

Don't put the UN in charge...


MarauderMike
 Share

Recommended Posts

Here's an interesting side of the story you don't hear too often...

PUBLICATION  : The Ottawa Citizen 

DATE  : 2004.04.13 

EDITION  : Final 

HEADLINE: Don't put the UN in charge

'I watched the dead float down a river in Tanzania."

The most harrowing description I have read of the Rwandan genocide was written by Keith Richburg, the Washington Post's Africa bureau chief at the time of the butchery in April 1994.

In his 1997 book, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa, he recounts standing on a bridge over the Rusumo Falls "watching the bodies float by me," thousands of them. "Most were naked, or stripped down to their underpants. Sometimes the hands and feet were bound together. Some were clearly missing some limbs," or heads. "I couldn't take my eyes off one of them, the body of a little baby."

It got worse. Once inside Rwanda, Richburg saw "babies being pulled off their mothers' backs and tossed onto spears. Pregnant women being disembowelled." For three weeks, the country was a blood riot, an orgy of gore and brutality as the 90-per-cent majority Hutus slaughtered the 10-per-cent minority Tutsis. As many as 800,000 Tutsis were murdered by their Hutu countrymen, most often by machete.

Hacking is a particularly gruesome way to kill. While it takes a certain soullessness to shoot an entire village, it takes soullessness times five to deal the death blows within arm's reach.

Richburg's account put me in mind of Julius Caesar's battlefield memoirs, The Conquest of Gaul. When Caesar wanted to make an example of some village or garrison, he would lay siege to it, then order his men to decapitate every man, woman and child inside. It could take a cohort or two of crack Roman legionnaires two to three days to behead a settlement of 12,000. Caesar noted that his soldiers' right arms would tire and they would have to take breaks.

The relief agency Oxfam called Rwanda the worst savagery it had seen since Cambodia's killing fields in the 1970s.

The following year, in 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was the scene of similar savagery, if on a smaller scale.

The United Nations had declared the town a safe zone. Bosnian Muslims flocked there to escape Bosnian Serb death squads and the Bosnian Serb <army>.

In early July 1995, the Serbs began massing on the outskirts and lobbing shells into the Muslim refugee camps. They also captured a company of Dutch peacekeepers.

UN commanders refused Dutch requests to bomb Serbian positions, once because the request was submitted on the wrong form, another time because pilots had exceeded their daily flying-time limit and were ordered back to base.

Finally, feeling abandoned by the UN hierarchy, the Dutch handed over the Muslims who were sheltered in their enclave and withdrew from Srebrenica, in return for the repatriation of their soldiers held hostage. About 15,000 Muslims were left behind in the town. Over the next three days, Bosnian Serbs massacred as many as 7,000 of them.

What's the common denominator of these two atrocities? The United Nations. In both cases, the UN is faulted for failing to take action soon enough, or at all, that could have prevented the slaughters.

In Rwanda, <Canadian> peacekeepers on the ground were forbidden by the UN to unlock their armoury and halt the murdering Hutus. In Srebrenica, dithering up the chain of command emboldened Bosnian Serbs to escalate, and escalate again their siege until there was nothing the Muslims or peacekeepers could do.

The UN military and security arms are every bit as much debating societies as the General Assembly and its diplomatic and humanitarian agencies, often hardened to inaction by endless hand-wringing and convoluted rules of engagement designed more for multicultural sensitivity than military effectiveness.

The other common denominator? Kofi Annan. The current secretary general was the under-secretary general for peacekeeping during both Rwanda and Srebrenica. His unwillingness to make decisions is particularly blamed for the mass killing of Tutsis.

It should also be recalled that the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1998-99 continued unabated for months while the UN vacillated over what to do. Only NATO intervention stopped the killing.

So what makes anyone think the United Nations should be put in charge of Iraq and if it were that it would somehow better manage the lethally opposed factions and sub-factions than the American-led Coalition Provisional Authority?

Given the UN's recent record in nation-building and national security, particularly Secretary General Annan's, it is entirely likely the UN would cut and run in the face of the current Shiite uprising. Far from preventing it -- since the UN has proven itself especially inept at preventing large-scale internecine slaughter -- it is likely the UN presence would have made matters worse.

Were UN bureaucrats, diplomats and multinational commanders in charge, they would likely ponder the proper course until the violence had escalated beyond the point of no return, then withdraw to watch the resulting full-scale civil war from afar.

The fact that the United Nations sat idly by and watched Saddam siphon off billions of dollars for his personal enrichment from the oil-for-food program and naively hired Saddamite security guards to guard its Baghdad headquarters -- guards who then helped blow it up last summer, killing more than 20 -- demonstrates the world body's unfitness to run Iraq now.

The American administrators may be making mistakes, but their mistakes won't be as deadly as the UN's would.

Lorne Gunter is a columnist for The Edmonton Journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:bs: the "journalist" needs to do a lot more research, at least regarding Rwanda. Its obvious he doesnt understand the "situation" with Rwanda...i wonder if he knows the definition of a chapter six mission. I'd love to comment further but any other comments will be entirely too political.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont know if this is going off topic but in my opinion i think the UN is unless. I likes communsium it looks good on paper but in practice it back fires more times than my grandad's truck.

Edited by Predator
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a thing i was using it as something to compare with :P

http://www.ghostrecon.net/forums/index.php?act=SR&f=23

"We have seen a lot of political arguments lately and some people cannot tolerate being "opposed" by other people and sooner or later they "crack" and start spewing all sort of hate posts, creating mayem in the forums and preventing other (more reasonable) debaters from expressing their opinion and often obliterating any message that would have brought forth compromise and friendship.

This forum is to be used for discussion on Real World Military matters, not Real World Politics.

For the time being all political discussions in this forums are banned. As soon as any are started, they will be locked or deleted. We encourage anyone looking to discuss political issues to head over to The Arena at Tango-Down.net."

Edited by Kewl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

:o

hmmrfp. I thought this was an interesting read is all... Nowadays all we hear about is what a poopy job the Yanks are doing in Iraq. I thought an opinion piece might be interesting... :unsure: Remember no matter how thinly you slice it there are always two sides.

Anywhooo... of to find some more "correct" articles. :rolleyes:

Stay Kewl. :punk:

Edited by MarauderMike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Know the rules and don't get involved in these discussions and everything is fine.

Just click the red link at the top of the page and read the rules and it gives a link to a place where these topics can be discussed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:o

hmmrfp. I thought this was an interesting read is all... Nowadays all we hear about is what a poopy job the Yanks are doing in Iraq. I thought an opinion piece might be interesting... :unsure: Remember no matter how thinly you slice it there are always two sides.

Anywhooo... of to find some more "correct" articles. :rolleyes:

Stay Kewl. :punk:

your "opinion piece" post was entirely too political to begin with. The situation in Iraq with the U.S trying to get the U.N involved is a political problem and the genocide in Rwanda is/was a politcal problem...check the background of the "journalist". You had to have known this when you posted it. It's a blatant, imo, at least partically uneducated critique of the U.N's politics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...