UN encounters reality
Posted by aogWednesday, 11 June 2003 at 21:58 TrackBack Ping URL
The Miami Herald reports that two UN observers will killed and apparently partially eaten in the Congo last month near the cite of Mongbwalu.
Their decomposed corpses had been tossed into a canal and covered with dirt, according to those who saw the bodies. They were shot in the eyes. Their stomachs were split open and their hearts and livers were missing. One man's brain was gone.
In response the UN has pulled out all of its other observers making the entire operation effectively pointless. But that's what the UN does best.

The list of stupidities would be beyond belief for any organization except the UN:

We'll get back to you on that
For six days, two terrified United Nations military observers phoned their superiors - as many as four times a day - begging to be evacuated from their remote outpost in northeastern Congo. […] A U.N. helicopter from the town of Bunia could have retrieved them in 35 minutes.


Flying in a war zone is dangerous
Vollot [Col. Daniel Vollot, the MONUC sector commander in Bunia] said his command's Russian-made Mi-26 helicopters were piloted by civilians. The Russian and Ukrainian pilots were afraid to fly there, and the United Nations didn't want to put their lives at risk, Vollot said.


We respect local customs
Neither Oran nor Banda spoke French, Swahili or any local language.


We respect the local authorities
under U.N. rules, the ruling Lendu [described elsewhere in the article as “cannibalistic Lendu tribal militias”] militia had to give permission to land a helicopter in Mongbwalu.


We respect the bureaucracy
only MONUC headquarters in Kinshasa, the capital, could authorize a rescue operation.


We know what we're doing
But it was unclear who was responsible for the observers. For the next four days, phone calls were exchanged among Kisangani, Bunia and Kinshasa about getting clearance to evacuate Oran and Banda [the victims] .

"There was a lot of confusion," said the U.N. military observer.


No guns means no violence
There were no armed U.N. peacekeepers in the area, and the observers were sent with no weapons.


There is no past, only the glorious future
For years, Mongbwalu was a volatile, violent place in the most volatile, violent province [Ituri] of Congo. Six Red Cross workers were brutally murdered in Ituri in 2001.


But hey, at least we don't feel bad
"We can't feel guilty," said Vollot. "Certainly, if we had arrived two or three days before, they would be alive. It's difficult, but I don't feel guilty about that."

This is the paragon of virtue and effectiveness to which the US should bow and scrape? This is the pillar of moral rectitude that defines international law? It's not just the moral obtuseness, it's the extreme case of reality dysfunction that leaves me stunned.

UPDATE:
Apparently because the UN couldn't look stupid enough on its own, the EU has become involved [source]. The Guardian has an article on the fiasco. The best quotes:

Their [French troops] mandate did not permit them to venture outside Bunia, their commander said, nor to intervene in battles between armed groups.

[…]

As a UN convoy passed along the main street under heavy French guard a mob of militiamen and civilians ran behind, waving submachine guns in the air and shouting: "The white men will run, we have the city"

Comments — Formatting by Textile
pj Saturday, 14 June 2003 at 12:29

AOG, Just realized my post at Brothers Judd was triggered by yours. I had seen yours, then two days later when I saw the Guardian story I recalled it, but couldn’t remember which blog I’d seen it on, and used Google to find the story. I’m sure it was here that I first saw it. Sorry I didn’t give you a link.

End of Discussion