Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Passing the buck

The former UN Commander of the peace-keeping troops that did nothing during the Rwandan massacres of 1994 says the West bears "criminal responsibility" for the deaths because they did little to stop it.

General Romeo Dallaire is back in Rwanda on tour, talking about how he raised the alarm over the possible massacres for months before the killings began.

He specifically blames the US, UK and France for their lack of effort in trying to stop the killings.

Well, here's the thing. Yes, General, you only had 450 men in Rwanda. But you had a duty to try and stop it as well. Don't point fingers at the security council before you point a big one at yourself. You signed on to protect those people who died. You were undermanned and ill-equipped? Welcome to war. Those two problems have been around since the time of Sparta and Athens. It's nothing new to you. Essentially, you used it as an excuse to DO NOTHING and let the slaughter around you continue unabated.

Yes, you were outnumbered. And had you tried to stop them, you and many if not all of your men could have died. Well, guess what, Romeo? That's your job.

In 1983, after a UN force was inserted into Lebanon, an Israeli armored unit was trying to pass through a UN checkpoint that was led by an American colonel. The Israelis weren't supposed to be there. They were told to leave, but were ignoring those orders. So the colonel took out his .45 pistol and stuck it in the barrel of the lead tank, challenging them to continue. The Israelis backed off.

THAT is what you are supposed to do, Romeo. You stand up for what's right despite the chance you could die. You didn't do that. So yes, the West does deserve some blame for the Rwandan massacres. Just make sure to save some of the blame for yourself.

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