politics, history and the war on terror
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Never Again, Maybe  

This is the 10 year anniversary of the massacres in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of approximately 500,000. The United Nations was deployed in a peacekeeping posture, and failed miserably in this mission:

When the 100-day slaughter began, the U.N. had 2,519 peacekeepers in Rwanda. The most heavily armed U.N. contingent was a 450-member Belgian battalion, but Brussels withdrew days after Hutus killed 10 Belgian soldiers on April 7, 1994.

Other U.N. troops were busy "tanning at the pool" in neighboring Uganda and monitoring its border to ensure that weapons did not reach Kagame's rebels, who were fighting to end the slaughter, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said during the ceremony. U.N. troops at the time had been withdrawn from Rwanda and were staying at hotels in Uganda.

On April 21, as the killing raged, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution to reduce the U.N. force in Rwanda to a token 270 troops. On May 16, the Security Council passed another resolution to send some 5,500 troops, but they didn't begin to arrive until after the genocide had ended.

Remember this the next time you hear the United Nations has the moral authority, stature, personnel and experience to handle the occupation of Iraq.

In Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the international community to stay alert to prevent massacres like that in Rwanda.

"We cannot afford to wait until the worst has happened, or is already happening, or end up with little more than futile hand-wringing or callous indifference," Annan told the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Isn't this exactly what the United Stated prevented by intervening in Iraq? Why was the U.N. and Kofi Annan in particular opposed to the Iraq War? Saddam's record of internal and external aggression clearly qualifies him for preventative action by the U.N., according to Mr. Annan's standards.

In New York, U.N. Undersecretary-General Catherine Bertini rang the Japanese peace bell in front of the United Nations headquarters, and about 500 U.N. staffers observed a minute of silence. Similar ceremonies were held in cities worldwide; in Rome, the lights at the Colosseum turned from white to gold Wednesday night in remembrance of the genocide victims.

That about says it all concerning the U.N. "We failed you Rwanda because of our indecision, value of process over action, unwillingness to confront evil, poor military command structure, military weakness and tanning Belgians. But we do excel at silence. And didn't our peace bell sound so nice? How about the pretty lights? Sorry, we'll be there for you next time."

Probably not.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:06 AM