Paralyzed: U.N. Ineptitude Worsens
By John E. Carey
July 21, 2006
A shortened version of this essay appeared on the Internet at:http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_
The U.N. is setting a new standard of ineptitude and weakness in international conduct. Starting in early July, the United Nations and the world diplomatic community started three uninterrupted weeks of shameful mismanagement.
First, North Korea launched seven missiles on America's Independence Day, clearly violating agreements it had made to forgo missile launches while engaged in the "Six Party Talks."
North Korea's blatant provocation to the will of the international community caused a U.N. standoff that is still not fully resolved.Russia and China stonewalled the efforts of the U.S. and Japan to provide meaningful sanctions against North Korea. We are left with the dreaded "tough diplomatic language" from the U.N. Security Council."
The Dear Leader" must be terrified.
Currently, the U.N. is, well, paralyzed, as Israel battles terrorists including Hezbollah.It is pretty clear that Iran has been backing the terrorist.
"Iran is standing by the Syrian people," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi proudly told reporters.
Hey, until that statement, I didn't even know Syria or Iran was for sure part of this battle. Last Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted that Israel was not tough enough to counter Iran and also warned against an attack against Syria.
"Thanks be to God, despite its criminal and savage nature, the Zionist regime and its supporters in the West do not have the power to look in the same way towards Iran," the fiercely anti-Israeli president wailed.
"If Israel commits another act of idiocy and aggresses Syria, this will be the same as an aggression against the entire Islamic world and it will receive a stinging response," Ahmadinejad said in a telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.
The hard-line Iranian president, who said Israel should be "wiped off the map" or moved as far away as Alaska, has also compared Israel's military strikes on Gaza and Lebanon to tactics used by Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler.
The U.N. has reacted with: nothing.
Israel and Hezbollah are engaged in a life or death struggle.
Hezbollah, backed by Syria, Iran and large part of Lebanon, has proclaimed its intent to remove Israel from the earth.
Israel, backed by the United States, won't go without a fight. In fact, it looks like Israel may now be in the business of shelling its way to a new buffer zone on the border with Lebanon.
How do you make friends with a nation, or dare I say a people (What did Ahmadinejad call it? "The Entire Islamic World") when they are not shy about screaming that they want to destroy your country?
Israel's move against Hezbollah has revealed one of the reasons behind everyone's frustration in the region of South Lebanon.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon - known by its acronym Unifil -- has a long history of ineptitude, laxity and corruption.
As a "peacekeeping" force, Unifil is a joke.Some might say that the U.N.'s totally ineffective "peacekeepers" have allowed this pot to come to a boil. Other smart Americans say we should give the U.N. more of a chance to solve the problems of the Middle East and elsewhere.
Well, Unifil has been working to keep the peace in the Middle East for only 28 years. How much more time should we give them?
"They [Unifil] are barely able to take care of themselves," said Timur Goksel, referring to the UN peacekeepers. "How can you expect them to do their work?"
The blue-helmeted UN Unifil soldiers include a moderately trained and semi-disciplined Irish brigade. These Irish UN troops were routinely referred to as the "whisky army" by both Islam and Jewish observers who came into contact with them.
The Israeli-backed Christian militiamen - known by the Unifil acronym LAUIs (Lebanese Armed and Uniformed by Israel) countered any effort by the Irish troops to stray far from their base at Camp Shamrock.
So each side had its own peacekeepers to balance the status quo. And the U.N. [really with U.S. dollars] paid the peacekeepers selected by both sides to do just about nothing.
And we hate to give red meat to "red necks" but our dear friends the French command Unifil just now.
Over the past few years, with the U.N. paralyzed, Israel consolidated its border "security zone" and Iran began to openly support the terrorists, many of whom are called the Lebanese Shia Amal movement.
Rememeber: these guys are in a life or death struggle.All the other cast members in this play, excepting the Israelis and their sworn and vocal enemies, only have ridiculous cameo roles.
Speaking of ridiculous cameo roles, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, top Democrat in the House of Representatives, called on the Bush administration not to charge evacuees, saying, "A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon."
We asked the U.S. Department of State about this. Maura Harty, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, said that a 1956 law enacted by the U.S. Congress required the State Department be reimbursed for an action like the evacution from Lebanon.She added that Americans unable to pay could sign a voucher to reimburse the government.
Before the State Department dropped the plan, White House Press Spokesman Tony Snow defended it by saying the government has to charge evacuees because of a 2003 law."I dare say that it's something that is causing heartburn for a number of people, but it's the law," he said.
According to David Ignatius of The Washington Post, "The [Bush] administration's strategy is to let Israel do the dirty work of breaking Hezbollah and then move in a foreign 'stabilization force' to bolster the Lebanese army. Once Israel has pushed the guerrillas north, this international force would help the Lebanese army deploy to the southern border with Israel and the eastern border with Syria. The plan is for a beefed-up successor to the existing United Nations force in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL." ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/20/AR2006072001633.html )
Right now the U.N. is paralyzed again, or further, depending upon ones point of view.
Unable to effectively manage and organize the evacuation of innocent civilians from Lebanon, the U.N. is enviously eying USS Nashville, USS Trenton, USS Whidbey Island, USS Iwo Jima, USS Gonzalez, a bunch of CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters, the commercial liner "Orient Queen," [leased by the U.S. to evacuate U.S. citizens and their families] the U.S. Marines, and a protective cover including U.S. Navy destroyers.
Americans are leaving Beirut under a security umbrella of protected comfort and moving toward home in a fairly rapid manner.Non-Americans are mostly leaving by cargo ship to make the five hour U.S. vacationer's cruise ship journey in the hold of a hot cargo vessel in a 16 hour manner without toilets.
Today, July 21, the motor ferry Rahmah, with a capacity of 1,400 passengers, arrived in Lebananon and the high-speed ferry Victoria M, with a capacity of 330, also started taking Americans out.
"It feels wonderful to be back in the States. We just want to thank so much the State Department and the people that helped the government, the Marines, to help get us out," said one arrival at BWI.
But Americans who left Lebanon with European evacuees on non-U.S. vessels said they encountered a far rougher journey."We went on a cargo ship from the port of Lebanon. ... It was horrible. There were no facilities on the ship, just get out alive, that was it. We were on the ship for about 16 hours. It's a trip that takes about 4 or 5 hours," said Tom Charara from Long Beach, Calif.
The cruise ships the U.S. chartered to bring out U.S. citizens — equipped with a duty-free shops, gourmet restaurants and beauty salons — normally carry up to 800 vacationers each on Mediterranean cruises.
The U.S. Marine Brigadier General on the scene managing the civilian evacuation said he would wrap up the operation soon; and the Americans may have room for some of the allied civilians."That would be my suspicion," said Marine Brig. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, who was leading the operation. "It wouldn't surprise me at all if we had some excess capacity," Jensen said. "We will of course make that available to other nations to assist in their orderly departure," he added.
Amid all this: long-time U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton critic, Senator George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, has suddenly become aware of the good Ambassador's qualifications to represent the U.S. at the U.N. Voinovich stated publicly that he would support Bolton if the president re-nominates him to the post as expected.And, in a news flash, Voinovich declared that Bolton is "not perfect."
We need more Senators with this kind of deep insight and commitment amid the chaos of war.
Voinovich assumed for himself even less than a ridiculous cameo role.Don't forget: When Voinovich took his courageous last stand -- against Bolton -- he wept.
Apparently, leaving the fate of the world -- not to mention the Voinovich grandchildren -- in the hands of a man as mean as Bush ally John Bolton, unraveled the Senator back then. Thursday he went on TV to say, something like, "OOPS. I was mistaken. Bolton isn't a heathen and he follows the president's lead."
Despite some criticism from the American liberal left, American evacuees coming out of Lebanon have mostly praised the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Navy and the Marines: but nobody has anything good to say about the U.N.
And then there's this this: on July 14 a court handed down the first guilty verdict in the "Oil for Food" scandal at the U.N. In that caper, sneaky insiders at the U.N. and other influence seekers made millions from Saddam Hussein while they were supposed to be enforcing post Desert Storm sanctions.
And where is the U.S. media in all of this? CNN, for one, is mostly showing us heart-breaking stories of American tourists dislodged from their summer vacations.
Personally, we have little compassion for people who ignore the warnings of the State Department, travel to a war zone just as it is heating up, neglect to register with the embassy, then cry when war, to almost no informed observer's surprise, erupts.
Americans should take heed that we are in a world-wide war against terror that has any number of ramifications and dangers -- especially when one travels to the Middle East on summer holiday.
The U.S. Department of State, Ambassador John Bolton, and the U.S. Armed Forces are demonstrating true professionalism.
The rest of the bit players, especially Kofi Annan's U.N., should be ashamed. But shame is an emotion that has lost its impact on most world "diplomats" and "peacekeepers."
Multi-lateralism doesn't seem to always be in the best national interest of UN member states.
So don't forget for one second that this is an all or nothing proposition for the Israelis. And not a joking matter at all. Or a matter to be left entirely in the hands of the UN.
Our thanks to all involved at the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.