Thursday, June 29, 2006

The United Nations and ACTUAL Torture

I thought for the benefit of those who believe the U.N. and their 'peacekeepers" could do a better job in Iraq than U.S. troops...we should take a walk down memory lane...

Remember the 150 allegations of sexual abuse and rape levied against U.N. Peacekeepers in the Congo?

"...The allegations include pedophilia, rape and soliciting prostitutes, said Jane Holl Lute (search), assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations. Similar claims have been made against peacekeepers working under the U.N. mandate in the past...." (source)

And the 1997 story behind the picture at the head of the story:

"...First published in the United States on the cover of the June 24th issue of the left-wing weekly Village Voice, the photograph depicts two Belgian paladins of the new world order giddily holding a Somali child over an open flame. Other series of photographs depict UN soldiers kicking and stabbing a Somali, and another soldier apparently urinating on the Somali’s dead body; yet another shows a Somali child being forced to drink salt water, vomit, and worms. A second group of photos published in the July 15th Village Voice shows the dead bodies of bound Somalis — what appears to be the work of a death squad.

One atrocity not caught on camera involved the "punishment" of a Somali child by placing him in a metal container and withholding water from him for two days; predictably, the relentless African heat killed the child. One Belgian UN soldier testified that it was a regular practice to use metal boxes as prison cells, and that other Somalis probably died similarly gruesome deaths.

One might expect the photographs and first-person accounts of such atrocities to arouse public indignation against the UN’s "planetary police," just as the endlessly replayed videotape of the Rodney King arrest turned public opinion against the Los Angeles Police Department. Perhaps this is why the photographs have been all but invisible in the United States, and precious little media attention has been devoted to an examination of UN atrocities.

Village Voice reporter Jennifer Gould came across the accounts of the Belgian atrocities while doing an earlier story about sexual harassment of female employees at UN headquarters. "When I spoke with people at the UN, time after time I was told, ‘If you think it’s bad here, you ought to see what happens in peacekeeping operations,’" Gould told The New American. "I started looking into that issue and found that the abuses I reported were well-known and easily documented. They were all over the media abroad, and I was really surprised it hadn’t been written about over here."... (Read the whole sordid tale)

No, I am not implying that because the U.N. did it FIRST and WORSE that actually torturing someone is OK (Unless, of course, they hold vital information that will stop imminent deaths)...
What I am trying to convey is that the United Nations has not an ounce of credibility to stand in judgment -and those that think that the U.N. Peacekeepers can handle anything with even a 1/4 of the skill and professionalism that our troops possess need to read about Somalia and speak with someone in Bosnia...

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