‘UN Me’ Provides a Valuable Service

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Next up: the Oil for Food scandal – which, as Claudia Rosett, the top-notch UN expert and eloquent UN critic, tells Horowitz, was absolutely “designed to produce corruption.”  Allegedly, the objective of the program was to provide food, medical supplies, and so forth to the Iraqi people in exchange for oil; in reality, a bunch of UN big shots, up to and including Security Council representatives (and perhaps even one or two folks higher up), lined their pockets with kickbacks.  But, again, the UN did nothing – it was, as Rosett says, “the biggest scam in the history of human relief,” but nobody was fired or jailed.  As always, the UN proved that nothing could be more alien to its institutional culture than the idea of accountability.

The Rwanda genocide gets its own sad chapter in UN Me.  The head of the UN peacekeepers in that country, General Romeo Dallaire, actually wanted to do the right thing.  But when he asked Kofi Annan, then in charge of all UN peacekeeping forces, for authority to take relatively modest action to prevent a looming genocide, Annan said no.  Why?  Because it was more important to protect the UN’s “image of impartiality” than to protect people from genocide.  UN forces were even ordered to withdraw from a school where they were the only thing standing between Tutsi refugees – many of them children and old people – and Hutus with machetes.  Result: a brutal massacre for which – yet again – no UN personnel were punished.

While this nightmare was unfolding in Rwanda, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, then secretary-general of the UN, was on a European tour, which he refused to cancel in order to deal with Rwanda.  When he did return to New York, he denied that Tutsi were being exterminated.  Interviewed by Horowitz about this outrage, David Bosco of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace observes that the UN has “an institutional difficulty with determining that one side is the aggressor and one side isn’t.”  Indeed, Horowitz and Groff even got Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations,  on camera smoothly asserting that in the wake of the Rwanda genocide, it’s best not to “allocate the blame to one actor or the other.”

Horowitz also interviews Jody Williams, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was invited by the UN to examine the situation in Darfur and who ended up livid at the UN’s palpable discomfort with her undiplomatic conclusions and its failure to act on her urgent recommendations.  “Avoiding the truth seems to be in the DNA of this organization,” Williams charges.  It’s “totally a joke.”  Cain essentially agrees: “The notion isn’t to do the right thing.  The notion is to keep your job.  They’re bureaucrats in the most banal and cowardly sense of the word bureaucrat.”  And Rosett charges that the UN, with its emphasis on “secrecy and privilege,” actually “has a lot in common with dictatorships, not democracies.”

At film’s end, Horowitz and Graff pose a simple question: what, given all these unpleasant facts, does the UN stand for?  The answer, alas, is clear.  It stands for itself – period.  Like many other pointless bureaucracies, it is about perpetuating its own existence and enhancing its own image – and about seeking to squelch the truth about its fecklessness, incompetence, and absolute lack of a moral compass.  It’s also, I would suggest, about providing hack politicians from around the world with yet another career steppingstone, once they’ve risen to the top of the ladder in their own crummy little countries and finished emptying their own citizens’ pockets.

Oh, well.  Some of us, as I acknowledged at the beginning of this rant, already know all this.  But even though I’m one of those who did, UN Me still fired me up – a useful service.  What’s more important, however, is that all too many intelligent and otherwise well-informed people on this planet still actually revere this massive con game disguised as a staunch defender of human rights, international peace, and social harmony.  If this film doesn’t at least start to open their eyes, nothing will.

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  • Ken

    The United States should not be funding this corrupt organization in ANY way!!

  • Larry

    The ridiculous thing about Srebrenijca and Rwanda was that the UN peace keepers in both places were forbidden by the UN rules they were operating under to take military action to protect people.
    Those rules were such that any officer who gave such an order, or any peace keeper who obeyed such and order, would have been charged and convicted for doing so. I know for a fact that certain members of the Australian force in Rwanda seriously considered shooting the UN official who was preventing them from acting, and if you go and dig through Dutch reports you will find that quite a number of the Dutch force in Srebrenijca have committed suicide and many more have under gone psychiatric help for the guilt that they feel.

    In the aftermath of Rwanda the Australian Defence Force will no longer under take peace keeping missions where the officer on the spot doesn't have the right to order the use of force. Since then Australia has undertaken far fewer peace keeping missions than prior to it.

  • http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com Robin

    I am so glad you wrote about this film. I wrote about the UN's push to change the nature of education globally towards what it calls "Quality Basic Education for All." This is a post on how the Millenium Development Goals are to be achieved by 2015 and are grounded on this view of education to change people and thus the existing cultures of the West. And Norway has been on board for a long time. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-facts-wont

    The next post on June 3 explains what quality learning is to UNESCO. If you seek to change values and make responding from emotion the preferred habit, education is the stealth vehicle of choice.

  • ajnn

    it is useful to have people from every country in the world in one place to smooth and sometimes avoid disputes.

    the problem is not that the un in its present form is useless, rather it has added many, many functions that it manages abominably. that is what beaurocracies do: they grow.

    keep the un, but strip it down to a 100% diplomatic club instead of an essential international umbrella organization.

  • Indioviejo

    The UN has been so corrupt and unhelpfull from its inception,as to when the former USSR became a permanent member of the Security Council, just as the World's Democracies had barely defeated other totalitarian tyrany's, made it all a lie. The Muslim nations by themselves made it a joke when they rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and later came out with their own "Cairo Declaration" supporting Sharia Law. No credibility remains of a stupid idea to beguin with. It was bad as a League of Nations and it became worse as the UN. We owe this world class mistake to Woodrow Wilson and Frankilin Roosevelt, two Social-Democrats if we ever saw one.

  • PDK

    I believe the time has long since come to relieve America of this UN burden, and put an end to the liberal charade. The UN has lived beyond its intended usefulness since the JFK, Adlai Stevenson and the Cuban missile crissis. It has become a joke, a very expensive joke.
    Multiculturalism will never work, not for America not for the UN, too many Cheifs no enough braves.
    The time has come, IMHO, for America and allies to begin anew. First, throw the UN out, the whole kit and kaboodle. Second, build a new facility in rural Idaho, call it the "Confederation of the Friends of Liberty and Capitalism ", and be specific to our cause, not understanding of theirs.
    Keep America sovereign and American sovereignty, end the one world governence of America and like fellow nations by the buffoon liberals and Islamics.
    Godspeed America. Thank you.

  • topeka

    re: Srebrenica

    wikipedia has one version:

    wikipedia also.. apparently believes the Kosovo conflict occurred with only one side (Serbs) firing any weapons.

    The following comment: h/t http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/b

    Not everyone agrees with the official version on Kosovo. Normally, I would not go more than one iota towards a conspiracy theory… but frankly when it comes to the Religion of Peace… nothing I know of for certain surprises me.

    So while I have my doubts – it would not surprise me to find out the following observations have been verified …


    So that the reader isn’t left with the impression that ALL THOSE CIVILIANS TRAPPED inside Srebrenica mentioned above were massacred along with the “Muslim men and boys” (indeed, if they were, we wouldn’t be hearing the qualifier “men and boys” ad nauseum), note that Ratko Mladic’s forces organized buses to take the civilians to Muslim-held territory, as the civilians had wanted from the start. He saw them off, talking to those seated on the bus and assuring them safety. There’s video of this. But the press uses these assurances to paint an even more sinister picture. For example, look at the insidious, malevolent writing that St. Louis Post-Dispatch writers Phillip O’Connor and Stephen Deere used in this article they co-wrote upon Mladic’s capture:

    Just hours before the 1995 attack, Mladic appeared in a now infamous video stroking the cheek of a terrified child and telling the crowd, “Don’t be afraid, no one will hurt you.”

    After women and children were loaded onto buses and transported out of the area, the killing began. It went on for days.

    This is supposed to stick in the reader’s mind as if the child didn’t make it to safety; the writers are conflating the subsequent deaths of escaping soldiers with the children Mladic gave candy and safe passage to. The “candy” mention comes from similarly insidious wording in this AP report, which the above article copies almost verbatim at some points (which is how Balkans reporting has always been done anyway):

    Just hours before the massacre, Mladic handed out candy to Muslim children in the town's square, assuring them everything would be fine and patting one child on the head. Then the shootings began and the bodies of the victims were bulldozed into mass graves.

    • topeka

      I think that the aforementioned “infamous video” of Mladic “stroking the cheek of a terrified child and telling the crowd, ‘Don’t be afraid, no one will hurt you’”—may be this one, viewable to those with a Facebook account:


      It's basically him hopping onto each bus and saying "Hi, I'm Ratko Mladic, you are all going to be safely evacuated." The monster!

      Meanwhile, the evactuation that the Serbs did–which the Bosnian government refused to do in order to keep the civilians in danger—is of course being referred to in media and government as ethnic cleansing. Just one example—and a more mild one at that—comes from that same AP report:

      “In early July that year, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were executed by Serbian forces, and the town's women and children were driven out of the area.”

      (This recalls how a Serbian bishop was threatened by the internationals with a war crimes indictent for ethnic cleansing for obliging to help put together buses to clear Muslim women and children out of the crossfire in a Herzegovina town.)

      What else they’re doing in the media now is adding the phrase “including women and children” with regard to who was killed in Srebrenica. This is perhaps a conflation of Srebrenica and Sarajevo, or perhaps they’re seizing on the fact that, among all the remains at the identification office, exactly 5 are female so far. (Here I must emphasize that most of the remains are indeterminate re the potential cause, manner, place and time of death over the course of living through three years of war. But you’re just supposed to think they were “executed,” and by Serbs.)

      In an email from Nebojsa Malic, we get a broader picture of what happened (emphasis mine):

      Upon taking Srebrenica, the Serbs find it empty. Muslim soldiers had gone off towards Tuzla. The Serbs find the Muslim civilians overflowing the UN camp in the nearby hamlet of Potocari. They detain SOME men, and SOME of those are MIA presumed dead – but neither the Dutch nor ANYONE else who was there actually witnessed them die. The civilians are told they can stay if they want to, or be evacuated to Muslim territory. They choose evacuation. Gen. Mladic organizes buses and trucks (at a time when fuel was incredibly difficult to come by, no less) and sees them off personally. There are videos of him talking to the civilians in the buses (you can see clearly there are a few men in there as well, and boys aplenty), and guarantees them safety. They are bused to Kladanj and handed over to the Muslims.

      (NOTE: It’s not surprising that plenty of males survived as well, since the Serbs were weeding people out in order to find the perpetrators of the raids on their villages. Indeed, the majority of Srebrenica’s 40,000 population survived, with 35,632 registering with the World Health Organization and Bosnian government by the first week of August ’95.)

      If Mladic had used the same standard the Croats applied to Serbs a month later [Operation Storm], he'd have made them walk on their own, and shot them up every so often, just for LOLs. Instead, the Serbs WENT OUT OF THEIR WAY to AVOID harming civilians.

      Or as Emil Vlajki (half-Croat, half-Jewish VP of the Serb Republic currently) said on TV recently, "Had the Nazis acted the way the Serbs are accused of acting, 4 million more Jews would have been alive today." (Many of his own relatives perished in the Shoah.)

      One thing to keep in mind about Srebrenica is that it didn't start out as an enclave. Starting in March 1992, Oric actually marauded up and down the Drina valley, until his defeat in the spring of 1993. Oric then retreated to Srebrenica, where the Serbs had him cornered. The UN commander at the time, French general Morillon, led a convoy through Serb territory to get food into the town Muslim propaganda claimed was starving to the point of cannibalism. Once there, he tried to get some civilians out, but Oric prevented him – suffering civilians were a key element of the Muslims' war strategy; without them, there was no CNN Effect, and no chance of an outside intervention. Morillon did eventually manage to evacuate some seriously injured people and kids and set up food convoys into the town.

  • topeka

    … re the UN Me

    I will buy a copy and watch it…

    but I doubt I will learn anything – my granny taught me they were commie-pinkos representing mass-murderers… back in the 60's.

    I wish I could recall details – but in those days I only wanted to read Spiderman comics…

    Every year I live my granny seems brighter every day…

  • Ronald Johnston

    Pure evil!!!!