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(Extensions of Remarks - November 16, 2001)

Friday, November 16, 2001

Mr. Speaker, now I think I've just about seen and heard everything: Kofi Annan and the United Nations being announced as joint recipients of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. I'm not saying there wasn't a time in the UN's history when it wasn't deserved. What I'm saying is I don't believe it's deserved right now. Instead, I believe that to award the UN and Kofi Annan now amounts to an insult to the millions that have died at the hands of the United Nations in recent years.

Mr. Speaker, Kofi Annan and the United Nations are stained with the blood of millions of dead people.

Let me tell you about some of their recent failures.

Let me start with their greatest failure--Rwanda. The 1994 Rwandan genocide must amount to one of the greatest humanitarian failures of any generation. Kofi Annan was the Director of UN Peacekeeping based in New York and was personally responsible for the UN Peace Keeping force in Rwanda. The now famous informant Jean Pierre had warned Dallaire and the UN leadership of the coming mass slaughter but his information was cavalierly dismissed. Tragically, as had been predicted, Rwanda exploded into an orgy of violence the likes of which the last century had never seen. At the end of 100 days an estimated 1,000,000 Rwandan men, women, and children had been bludgeoned, macheted, and axed to death. The daily death rate was five times that of the Nazi industrial death camps. Instead of reinforcing the UN contingent in Kigali, the UN actually ordered the withdrawal of their troops. It was then that the killing in Kigali exploded. Of course, the US bears much of the blame for the UN's inaction.

And now the much-celebrated International Tribunal for Rwanda has become yet another UN bureaucratic disaster. Repeated UN investigations have found widespread mismanagement, wastage, incompetence, and corruption. The Tribunal has prosecuted a fraction of the Rwandan genocide suspects it holds in custody. It has even been criticized by its own Appeal Court of prosecutorial incompetence and failing to observe elementary due process considerations. Sadly, the Tribunal, which should have brought justice to the region, has instead become another multi-million dollar UN boondoggle. Srebrenica, a name now associated with one of the worst crimes in Europe since WWII or as Judge Riad of the ICTY described it, ``. . . a place where thousands of men were executed, hundreds buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mother's eyes, and a grandfather was forced to eat the liver of his own grandson.'' These are truly scenes from hell written on the darkest pages of human history. The UN created a safe haven in Srebrenica and encouraged civilians to enter en masse so as to be under UN military protection. Only one condition applied--entry into the UN safe haven required uslim fighters to surrender their weapons. This they did, hoping that if ever the need arose they would get them back. They were to be sorely disappointed on that score.

When it became apparent that General ladic was separating the men from the women and then killing them in the nearby fields, the Dutch UN troops began pleading for UN military support. But, just like Rwanda, the UN leadership once again became paralyzed and failed. They dithered over air strikes, they refused to send in troops to help the beleaguered Dutch and in the end, just as with Rwanda, the UN withdrew their troops. This permitted General ladic to remove an estimated 5,000-8,000 Muslims from in and around the UN compound in Potocari and slaughter them.

To this day the United Nations and no UN official has ever been held criminally or civilly liable, let alone even publicly admonished, for their massive failures in Srebrenica. All the families of the thousands of victims can do now is pick up the pieces of their broken families and attempt to restart their lives.

Mr. Speaker, sadly there is more.

East Timor. In late August 1999, the UN and now Secretary General Annan, called for elections on the small island country of East Timor despite disturbing evidence that hard line elements in the Indonesian military were preparing to cause wide spread public disorder so as to disrupt the elections. The UN failed to provide adequate protection for the civilian population. Dili was burnt to the ground and East Timor was engulfed in violence. After weeks of killing and millions of dollars of damage, the Australian government sent in ground troops to restore order to East Timor; but by then, it was too late to save East Timor from UN bungling.

Sierra Leone. So bad was the UN's conduct in Sierra Leone in June 2000 that their long time supporter and friend, edicins Sans Frontieres, felt compelled to speak out and complain. SF complained bitterly that the UN troops fled a RUF attack on the Sierra Leonean town of Kabala.

In so doing SF said that the UN had failed its mandate to protect civilian populations, many of whom were sick women and malnourished children in the SF hospital.

Cambodia. There is now mounting evidence that UN Peacekeeping troops actually caused an explosion of AIDS in Cambodia in 1992. In January of this year Richard Holbrooke, the then US Ambassador to the UN, launched an unprecedented attack upon the UN during his last UTN address saying ``. . . it would be the cruelest of ironies if people who had come to end war . . . were spreading the most deadly of diseases . . . it will kill more people and undermine more societies than even the most critical conflicts we discuss here.'' And despite Ambassador Holbrooke's warnings there are concerns that right now in East Timor UN staff could be causing yet another AIDS epidemic. Some things just never seem to change.

Mr. Speaker, let me put it squarely on the record. I believe in the UN. I believe that our country should support the UN. But I do not think that we should blindly lend our support in the face of massive negligence.

I think answers to these questions beg to be asked:

After such repeated UN failures to act upon knowledge of impending humanitarian disasters, what forgiveness?

After such repeated UN failures to discharge their sacred duties, what accountability?

After such ongoing complicity by the UN in repeated slaughters, what punishment?


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