It is a shame that the United Nations is far better at resourcing architects than they are peacekeepers. I will spare everybody a Bush : Iraq/Afghanistan :: Obama : Libya/Afghanistan comparison. What I would like to bring attention to however is the United Nations’ recent history when it comes to it’s “Peacekeeping Efforts” in ares under political turmoil.
Below I have paraphrased from Wikipedia and other sources some esteemed highlights. I would like to point out that all the examples provided below happened during my life, at a time I can vividly remember. Most likely yours too. These events are not far removed in our collective history. As the US, and other countries enter Libya under similar pretenses described below under the guise of NATO and the UN alike, hopefully we are not doomed to make the mistakes of our past.
As of mid-2003, the Demographic Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTY estimated that 102,622 deaths resulted from the Bosnian conflict, with 55,261 of those people being civilians and 47,360 being military personnel at their time of death. The authors of this report say that the actual death toll may be slightly higher. [Wikipedia]
I attribute the majority of theblame to our lack of aggressiveness and resolve in reacting to the violations of the belligerents. The personality of the Sector Commander combined with the fear of incurringfriendly casualties caused us to cede to the desires of the belligerents when our backs were up against the wall. Each time we abandoned our hard line position, we lost credibility and face with the Serb and Croat leaders. These leaders respected mental and physical toughness and expected us to rigidly enforce the articles of the Vance Plan. Once we displayed weakness in our resolve, it was a “slippery slope” until we virtually lost control of the Sector. [Hague*]
UNAMIR – The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda
Among the first targets of the genocide were Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian members of 2nd Commando Battalion, the Paracommando Regimentoperating as part of UNAMIR. These troops were murdered after handing over their weapons to Rwandan government troops. They were advised to do so by their battalion commander who was unclear on the legal issues with authorising them to defend themselves, even though they had already been under fire for approximately two hours.
The inquiry concluded that the overriding failure in international community’s response was the lack of resources and political will, as well as errors of judgement as to the nature of the events in Rwanda. Expressing deep remorse over the failure to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, the Secretary-General, in a statement on 16 December, said that he fully accepted the conclusions of the report. He welcomed the emphasis which the inquiry had put on the lessons to be learned, and its recommendations to ensure that the United Nations and the international community could and would act to prevent or halt any other such catastrophe in the future. [UN *]
UNOSOM I / II - United Nations Operation in Somalia
Remember Black Hawk Down?
Furthermore, as nation building was seen as solely a U.N. mission, UNITAF civil affairs personnel did not participate in any long term planning efforts that would have resulted in the creation of a Somali government. As a result, when UNITAF forces withdrew in May of 1993, they left Somalia slightly better fed but no more secure. [White*]
The UN is terrible at nation-building and ensuring stability and security. The fact the world looks to them to justification for war is specious at best.