Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grigg on the UN ATT


As usual, it's a capital-R resource.  But this one is important even within Grigg's corpus of work.

File this passage in the "History of the Future" category:

For more than fifty years, the United Nations, with the enthusiastic support of the U.S. government, has pursued a vision of “general and complete disarmament” in which the world body, or its successor, would claim a monopoly on the “legitimate” use of force. Within that global monopoly, each national government would have an exclusive territorial franchise.

“Controlling the proliferation of illicit [that is, civilian-owned] weapons is a necessary first step towards the non-proliferation of small arms,” wrote former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his official 2000 report, We the Peoples. “These weapons must be brought under the control of states, and states must be held responsible for their transfer.”

It was in pursuit of that formula that UN “peacekeepers” were deployed in Rwanda in 1993. The peace treaty they were sent to enforce required the collection of all civilian-owned weapons. Despite that country’s history of bloody ethnic conflict, Rwandans were assured that they had nothing to fear from a UN-approved government that claimed a monopoly on weaponry; after all, the Blue Beret-wearing emissaries of the “international community” were there to protect them, in the event their government turned feral.

In January 1994, Lt. Col. Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian officer commanding the UN contingent in Rwanda, learned that the Hutu-dominated regime was planning to massacre the Tutsi population. He sent an urgent fax to UN headquarters requesting permission to disarm the government-backed militias by raiding their arms caches. He wasn’t allowed to take this pre-emptive action, because the UN’s self-assigned mandate called for civilian disarmament, not the disarmament of government operatives.

Less than three months later, the massacre began – a 100-day orgy of bloodshed in which roughly one million people were slaughtered. Most were hacked to death with machetes – but behind the machete-wielding goons were government troops, police, and militiamen armed with guns. Dallaire’s troops did nothing to protect the victims; indeed, many of them were butchered as well.

The UN official who was given advance warning of the massacre, and ordered Dallaire not to take any preventive action, was Kofi Annan – who at the time was undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations. In the finest tradition of Soviet career advancement, Annan was rewarded with a promotion to Secretary General, and eventually received the Nobel Peace Prize. Dallaire, who had done what he could to prevent the genocide, succumbed to near-suicidal depression and alcoholism. He was eventually rehabilitated after a reporter found him freezing to death under a park bench in Hull, Quebec.

Grigg does report his historical cautionary tales with a certain style, doesn't he?  One might be tempted to call it "plainspeak" as a compliment, but that might actually do a disservice to a man who in a sane world would be revered as a national treasure.

The problem with plainspeak isn't so much that hardly anyone speaks it any more.  It isn't even that hardly anyone even wants to.  If that were it, it would still be possible to live in peace. 

The worst problem with plainspeak is that too many want to forcibly remove it from existence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear the gun control people argue this one....