Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why is the UN in Lebanon?

Blue Crab covers what the UN is doing in Lebanon. That is, he provides some guidance as to what their activities are.

But on two separate news reports this morning, I heard the UN's people in Lebanon referred to interchangeably as 'observers' and 'peacekeepers.' The two words are not even close to being synonyms. The sloppiness of the terminology is clearly due to the fact that they don't really have a clear mission.

It is obvious that the UN contingent has failed massively at being 'peacekeepers.' And the last thing that we want is 'observers' in a war zone. It is a tragedy that 4 people have been killed (reportedly) at the UN position in Lebanon. But they appear to have been put in harm's way for no good reason.

As diplomats labor over the terms of a ceasefire and decide where troops should come from to police one, they should have this tragedy in mind. The last UN team appears to have served no useful purpose. Let's make sure that the next soldiers, or observers, or peacekeepers who are put in harm's way have a clear and achieveable mission.

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