- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
Just stop the UN from being involved as observers, peacekeepers, what have you. Time for a change:
Cursed are the peacekeepers
By Jules Crittenden
Boston Herald City Editor
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - Updated: Jul 27, 2006 08:58 PM EST
Let us review the tragic and deadly record of the United Nations toothless and often immoral peacekeeping missions:
UNMOGIP, 1948 to present. The United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan is the longest continuously serving of the peacekeeping missions. During its tenure, India and Pakistan have engaged in open war three times, twice over Kashmir. Thats not counting the deadly Kargil campaign of 1999, and nearly two decades of terrorism and guerrilla warfare sponsored by Pakistan and regular shelling of civilians by both India and Pakistan.These activities take place under the noses and over the heads of UNMOGIP observers on the Line of Control they monitor.Thousands of solders and as many as 60,000 civilians have been killed just in the last couple of decades.The uneasy peace between India and Pakistan has not been kept by UNMOGIP.In recent years, open warfare has been avoided by their fear of each others nuclear arsenals, and their desire for the economic benefits normalization of relations offers.
But that is just an example of a UN peacekeeping waste of time and money -- the time of lesser nations armies; the money, primarily ours, the United States. The record of UN peacekeeping forces is smeared with greater shames and outrages.
Somalia, 1993.Blue-helmeted Canadian paratroopers torture a teenager to death. Other nations soldiers face similar abuse charges.
Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, East Timor, Cambodia, 1990s through present: UN peacekeepers are accused of raping and killing local women and children and other forms of lawlessness in cases too numerous to recount here.
Srebrenica, 1995utch UN peacekeepers hand over Bosnian Muslim men, women and children to Serb forces with a demonstrated record of raping and murdering same.The Dutch later explained that their small force was insufficent to defend these civilians, and their UN status barred them from engaging in open hostilities.Fine. They are the ones who must live with the blood of thousands of dead civilians on their hands. What the blue-helmeted Dutch soldiers failed to recognize is that, for soldiers as for all of us, there sometimes comes a day when one must say, "This will not happen.I might die today, and it might happen anyway, but I cannot stay alive and allow this to happen."The massacre ironically brings peace to Bosnia when it shames the world into action and an armed NATO force moves in.
Iraq, 1990s: Saddam bribes UN and European officials to allow him to bypass the restrictions of the UN-administered oil-for-food humanitarian mission. He makes a mockery of the weapons of mass destruction monitoring process, hamstringing and finally driving out UN monitors in 1998.Following the 2003 US-led invasion, we are now learning stockpiles of chemical artillery shells were found.Saddams generals say they believe weapons were spirited across the border to Syria, and his scientists inform us they were instructed to be ready to resume nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs as soon as our European allies had succeeded in dismantling the UN sanctions program. There is also the suggestion that Saddam, even while publicly denying any WMD capacity, maintained the impression it was intact, fooling even his own generals, in a strategic posturing in order to maintain his status in Iraq and in the region. The full truth of this dangerous situation has yet to be revealed.
Lebanon, July 2006: Four peacekeepers from China, Austria, Canada and Finland in a UN observation post are killed by Israeli artillery.There are some very legitimate questions about why and how this happened. But the history of warfare tells us that accidents happen.Artillery, missiles and bombs kill civilians, friendly forces and journalists who are not their intended targets. Among the questions in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has operated unhindered for years, launching raids into Israel, is: of what possible use were these blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers?
In fairness, it must be noted that soldiers of all armies in hostile zones, including our own, sometimes face accusations of murder, torture, cowardice, rape and looting. War is not pretty and discipline sometimes breaks down under stress. The difference is, an army acting with determination, the willingness to use force and a moral mandate to establish peace and democracy offers hope and produces results.A force that stands aside passively to observe hostilities and war crimes -- except in those cases where it abets or actively participates in rape, murder and theft -- is a cruel joke that only perpetuates violence and despair.
It is time to end the useless, costly and deadly farce of UN peacekeeping missions. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has himself now called for a NATO presence that may actually be willing to use force in Lebanon, has to answer for the deaths of the neutered, blue-helmeted soldiers he left to die in Lebanon.