Blood on his hands

Norm Blog, a paragon of intellectual integrity on the left, points to this Observer story on the U.N. that asks "How many more must die before Kofi quits?"

Next to these tributes is another installation - a reproduction of the infamous fax by the UN Force Commander, General Romeo Dallaire, imploring the then head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan, for authority to defend Rwandan civilians - many of whom had taken refuge in UN compounds under implicit and sometimes explicit
promises of protection.

Here, too, is Annan's faxed response - ordering Dallaire to defend only the UN's image of impartiality, forbidding him to protect desperate civilians waiting to die.

[...] His own legions have raped and pillaged. In two present scandals, over the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, and sex-for-food in Congo, Annan was personally aware of malfeasance among his staff, but again responded with passivity.

Read the whole thing. How anyone can continue to defend Kofi Annan is beyond me.

Want more visually graphic imagery of the U.N. at work? Watch the excellent movie "Hotel Rwanda."

1 comment:

TheMalau said...

This may be hard to do, but let me try. I still defend Kofi Annan, because I was living in Rwanda in 1994. I was a "UN brat" (my parents worked for the UN), and I remember Kofi Annan's frustration at the Security Council, as they would not allow him to take more actions. What you see in the official document may seem to show one thing, but the reality of the negotiations behind the door were otherwise.

I am a lefty, but I have to say that Though I admire Clinton for many, his administration was the one running interference at the SC, because they knew the American public was not ready for another operation in Africa, after Somalia.

SG Annan may have made naive mistakes, and we will see where the investigations lead; but pinning all the problems of the UN on him, when he so often has to be fighting Security Council powers for Justice and fairness, seems a bit disingenuous. There is no accountability without authority... within the UN system, the Secretary General has only a limited amount of the latter, therefore cannot be expected to bear the brunt of the former. The problem is so much larger than ONE MAN. And if we want to avoid what happened in my country, Congo, how about the US senate remove their objection to the UN having a standing, trained, permanent, and human-rights-aware military force; that way we wouldn't have to rely on poorly trained, poorly paid, and corrupt soldiers recruited from poor member-nations-militaries, to do the job. How about we start where the power lies?

Happy Super Tuesday!