Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Color me unsurprised.

Unlike the do-gooders of the planet, I am less than surprised that there is yet another rape scandal involving UN peacekeeping troops in some poor corner of the world that, by rights, has seen enough misery without it being added to by the UN.

The very premise of the whole peacekeeping thing is flawed. You see, because a country is in the UN, we can't tell them:
"We're sorry, Mr. President-For-Life of Absurdistan, but you're a Third World hell hole whose army is stocked by illiterate gutter sweepings who were given a choice between prison or the infantry, and your patronage-based, class-conscious officer's corps is too professionally incompetent and riddled by graft and corruption to control them.
You can't even keep the peace in your own country, so we'll have to politely decline your request to send The President's Own 3rd Light Infantry Regiment to join the UN peacekeeping effort in Upper Revolta.
"
No, in a UN where Syria can sit on the Human Rights committee, we have to pretend that all countries are equal.

Not every country has the same military traditions shared, to one extent or another, by most of the Western democracies. My friend Oleg is from Russia, which compared to Backwoodistan or East Lemuria is practically the same as us culturally, and he was mildly surprised to meet a number of current and ex-servicemembers who were not only literate, but actually cultured, despite being NCOs or even junior enlisted men. The concept of a poetry-reading sergeant was foreign to his experience as a youth in the USSR. Imagine, then, the further gulf between civilization and the members of a military who are little more than street gangs with uniforms, and you wonder why anyone's shocked when they engage in a touch of rapine when sent to "keep the peace" in a foreign land.

8 comments:

staghounds said...

For now, and maybe for a little while longer, we in the west have the ability to solve these "peacekeeping" problems.

Why on earth we have chosen not to use the cheap, effective, and just solution- most conspicuously in Saddam's Iraq and Mugabe's Zimbabwe- is a mystery to me.

I've often heard people play the thought experiment game, "If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?"

We can kill a dozen little Hitlers TODAY. But we won't.

We'll blow up peasant conscripts by the ten thousand, or slaughter every low level Jihadi we can hit.

But put them in a suit and tie, give the killers a title, and they are off limits.

OA said...

Can't help but think they'd knock that shit off real quick if the States flat out stopped sending them so much as a penny.



"But put them in a suit and tie, give the killers a title, and they are off limits."

It's an unwritten rule, hell, might be written, that political leaders are off limits during war (for the most part). It's considered unsporting, or some such bullshit. In reality, it's far too effective a method, so the politicians--the folks that make the rules on this sort of thing--decided to do away with it.

Tam said...

An interesting observation to make on the anniversary of Operation Anthropoid.

Mark Alger said...

oa;

I remember a passage from Day of the Jackal that rang true. Something to the effect that assasination is something that sends the glands of all leaders of any political stripe into shrinkage. They can all sympathize with the victim, so they will join together in a spirit that puts the concept of the Olympics to shame to catch an assassin.

Effective or not, they don't want a decapitation strike used against them, so they go out of their way (putting their soldiers' lives at risk) to avoid even the appearance of using assassination as a tool of statecraft or warfare.

That killing Hitlers ought to be America's national contact sport should go without saying... except that our -- scorn quotes -- "leaders" get that funny feeling down there when the notion rears its head.

M

Oldsmoblogger said...

...whose army is stocked by illiterate gutter sweepings who were given a choice between prison or the infantry, and your patronage-based, class-conscious officer's corps is too professionally incompetent and riddled by graft and corruption to control them.

And yet, England somehow managed. ;-)

Rob K said...

I remember a bombing run or two early on in our current middle-east imbroglio which were meant to cook Saddam's goose.

Will said...

Rob,
that's about the closest we now come to lopping the head off. We have to give them a "sporting chance" that includes killing lots of surrounding personnel so it doesn't look too much like an assassination.
I wonder if some part of this attitude might be from the military brass that thinks they need to have a war that lasts long enough for training/experience, R+D, and resume' enhancement for those looking to move up the ladder.
Actually, the war experience is always a useful thing for keeping a military competent. Unfortunately, social engineering is not a proper use of a military, and we are paying a price for this misuse.

staghounds said...

Hold up, Olds- the English officer corps wasn't grafty and corrupt!

Well, not VERY...

And not so directly.