Saturday, September 07, 2013

Lesson Lost: Rwanda, Twenty Years After

It's probably too late now, and likely the complacent "it is not our fight" crowd has won the battle, if not the war. After the Euro-American Axis declines to do anything further (oh, there might be some huffing and puffing in the UN, and some dainty sanctions, designed not to harm the profits of our uber-capitalist masters, that will take effect 3 or 5 years from now), the gas canisters will be loosed again and probably again and again in Syria.

Let's review the path advocated by the surrender monkeys. The past is prologue to the present.

The United Nations in Rwanda

On January 12, 1994 Canadian Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire (United Nations Force Commander in Rwanda) notified Military Adviser to the Secretary-General, Major-General Maurice Baril, of four major weapons caches and plans by the Hutus for extermination of Tutsis. ... Dallaire made immediate plans for UNAMIR troops to seize the arms caches and advised UN Headquarters of his intentions, believing these actions lay within his mission's mandate. The following day, headquarters responded that his outlined actions went beyond the mandate granted to UNAMIR under United Nations Security Council Resolution 872. Instead, he was to notify President Habyarimana of possible Arusha Accords violations and his concerns and report back on measures taken. ...
The UN's mandate forbids intervening in the internal politics of any country unless the crime of genocide is being committed. ... Canada, Ghana, and the Netherlands provided consistent support for the UN mission under the command of Dallaire, although the UN Security Council did not give it an appropriate mandate to intervene. Despite emphatic demands from UNAMIR's commanders in Rwanda before and throughout the genocide, its requests for authorization to end it were refused, and its intervention capacity was reduced.

The United States in the United Nations

Note that the current advocacy of doing nothing in Syria exactly parallels the US gov't's advocacy in 1994, of getting out of Rwanda and doing nothing. In the UN, the United States' golden-tongued representative, Madeleine Albright, was instrumental in preventing the UN mandate from being expanded to end the slaughter.
There were no U.S. troops officially in Rwanda at the onset of the genocide. A National Security Archive report points out five ways in which decisions made by the U.S. government contributed to the slow U.S. and worldwide response to the genocide:

  1. The U.S. lobbied the U.N. for a total withdrawal of U.N. (UNAMIR) forces in Rwanda in April 1994
  2. Secretary of State Warren Christopher did not authorize officials to use the term "genocide" until May 21, and even then, U.S. officials waited another three weeks before using the term in public
  3. Bureaucratic infighting slowed the U.S. response to the genocide in general
  4. The U.S. refused to jam extremist radio broadcasts inciting the killing, citing costs and concern with international law
  5. U.S. officials knew exactly who was leading the genocide, and actually spoke with those leaders to urge an end to the violence but did not follow up with concrete action.

(Rwanda Genocide, Wikipedia)

Twenty years on, we find that the slaughter in Rwanda had no lessons for US foreign policy among most Americans.  We were indifferent to the deaths then, and we are indifferent now.