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No-Op

July 16th, 2014 - 5:46 pm

The decision of a court to hold the Dutch state liable for the death of 300 Muslim Bosnians in the Srebrenica massacre marks the first time a UN mission has been blamed for doing nothing.  It threatens to unravel the whole system of UN peacekeeping.

The judgment by the Dutch supreme court is the final decision in a protracted claim brought by relatives of three Muslim men who were expelled by Dutch soldiers from a United Nations compound during the Balkans conflict, then killed by Bosnian Serb forces.

Although the case related only to the murder of three victims, it sets the precedent that countries that provide troops for UN missions can be held responsible for their conduct.

The UN itself was not directly implicated because the court found that it was not even in touch with the Dutch contingent at the time. “The Dutch court ruling held that in the chaos of the Serb takeover of Srebrenica, UN commanders no longer had control of the troops on the ground and “effective control” therefore reverted to Dutch authorities in the Hague.”

Unable to receive the customary orders to do nothing the Dutch were therefore expected to do something and so the blame attached to them. “The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after the National War Documentation Institute blamed the debacle on Dutch authorities and the UN for sending underarmed and underprepared forces into the mission and refusing to answer the commanders’ call for air support.”

Testifying at the trial of Bosnian Serb military and police officers charged with crimes in Srebrenica and Zepa, [Kees Nicolai, former UNPROFOR chief of staff] Nicolai described that ‘close air support’ for the Dutch Battalion deployed in Srebrenica enclave had been postponed several times in June 1995 despite frequent attacks of the Bosnian Serb forces. After the ‘hostage crisis’ in May 1995, he explained, the UN command introduced restrictive guidelines for air support. The guidelines specified that it was better for the ‘blue helmets’ to withdraw if the UN checkpoints came under attack, than to call in NATO air strikes.

The New York Times notes that the court’s decision puts at risk the entire system of UN peacekeeping, a fact used as a legal defense by the Dutch government. “The court dismissed the arguments presented by the Dutch government that holding peacekeepers accountable for events that happened during their mission would deter future United Nations operations and make countries less willing to supply troops.”

The UN itself cannot be sued. “Earlier in the long-running case, judges said relatives of the victims could not sue the United Nations in Dutch courts because its immunity from prosecution is a cornerstone of peacekeeping operations around the world.”  But the fact that participating countries can be blamed makes it harder for the international community to perform that most valuable of services, the no-op.

In computer science, a NOP or NOOP (short for No Operation) is an assembly language instruction, sequence of computer programming language statements, or computer protocol command that effectively does nothing at all, in fact it only increments the program counter by the length of the instruction itself.

The UN is the planet’s leading supplier of no-ops, whose function is to mimic action while doing nothing at all. Assigning problems to the UN permits the international community to put an international crisis on ice until it falls off the radar and is forgotten forever. The no-op is widely known in American political terminology as “moving on”. It is very useful.

Got a problem in Africa? The way to make it ‘Move On’ is put  the UN on it. This has worked like a charm in the Congo, where the world’s worst conflict since the World War 2 has chugged along right under the noses of the UN for decades, prompting even the left-wing Guardian to say:

After 14 years, with a budget of $1.5bn a year, and employing 20,000 uniformed staff, the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest mission in the organisation’s history. Yet the force, currently known as Monusco, is struggling for credibility. On Twitter, critics have given it the hashtag #MONUSELESS.

Peacekeepers have been blamed for standing by when rebels from the allegedly Rwanda-backed March 23 movement (M23) conquered the city of Goma for 10 days last November. It has also been accused of blurring the lines between military and humanitarian activity, and for having an appalling record in protecting the civilian population – one of its two major aims. The second is to help restoring state authority, which requires engaging with politicians and public servants with sometimes dubious motives and propping up an army notorious for human rights abuses.

#MONUSELESS? That’s their JOB. The essence of the Dutch objection is that henceforward, UN peacekeepers might have to do something which would be extremely dangerous because as anyone who is familiar with the Rwanda massacre knows, the whole point was to provide a shroud under which the gomers could die unnoticed.

Ban the Hotel Rwanda clip! It’s got the “N” word. And the “A” one too.

But if I were the lawyer for the Dutch defense I might have said to the court:

“Judge did you really expect that after years of retreating and appeasing on UN orders that once out of contact some Dutch sergeant, lieutenant or captain seizing the chance would say, ‘now we fight! Now we protect!’ Knowing, as they knew with certitude they would be denounced and left to twist in the wind by the men in New York? Did you expect after years of organized demoralization and orchestrated deception that the Dutch battalion should suddenly rise up and insubordinately refuse to go along with the program?

That would be like expecting the inmate of a whorehouse to suddenly insist on virtue after years of making a living off vice.

The truth, judge, is if the Netherlands intended to fight it would never have subordinated itself to UN command. That the government put itself under the UN was as good as saying ‘let the Kosovars die’. Is there any other construction you can think of judge?

The government made a political decision to do nothing by voters who elected them to do nothing. For you did not want war judge, neither did the UN, and it was not our duty to supply it. Your province judge, is not politics. To hold these Dutch soldiers to some non-existent duty, as if they had some other duty other than betrayal is a travesty judge.

But if you are really seeking courage, find some within yourself and indict the men at the UN. Will you do it, judge? No. Blame us. We are the soft targets. We understand your apprehensions well. There are some shibboleths you cannot impeach.”


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Top Rated Comments   
The UN: A place where dictators opposed to free speech (Castro, Putin, Khameni, Mugabe, Obama, Ergodan, Kim Jong Un) demand to be heard.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please don't overpost. I must be draconian from this point on.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment

LET THE EARTH BE SALTED

The United States, out of its humanitarian instincts and belief that inside every savage beats the heart of an incipient civilized man, created the most useless and dangerous body of international corruption this ancient planet has ever seen. The United Nations is not only not united, most of its members are not even nations. Since no Leftist organization ever dies, and the United Nations is perhaps the most Leftist organization on this otherwise good green Earth, holding UN peacekeepers liable for their actions or inactions is welcome, for we tire of African UN peacekeepers raping girls and selling them on the open African slave market. Any sensible US government would order the UN to clear out and demolish the building and salt the ground.

They live in richly splendid isolation
They live in splendor past imagination
In luxury apartments paid by others
Pretending all the while that all are brothers
Their hatred for the West is beyond measure
Their hatred for the Whites their only pleasure
Each member of each UN delegation
Raised by the West to far beyond his station
The harm they do outweighs the benefaction
And useless when it comes to taking action
Mistakes when made are better off corrected
And so I urge our Congress be directed
To ship home all the UN we have vaulted
Beyond their worth and let the earth be salted

9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (81)
All Comments   (81)
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Would Israel be able to sue states that fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency?

http://www.timesofisrael.com/20-missiles-found-in-un-run-school-in-gaza/
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
A shot heard 'round the world. Somethings are so tragic and stupid that only comedy will grasp them. Imagine telling a terrorist he is being shipped to Novy Gitmo, via Malaysian Air. He'd sing like a canary. Picture a scene with 50 crazed terrorists all by chance finding themselves on the same Malaysian Air flight, and to bummed out by the thought they won't get the credit to do anything.

There is so much romantic malarky applied to "insurgents" that the reason for the elaborate codes and regulations that disciplined uniformed regular forces operate under gets obscured. Much of the enthusiasm for irregulars comes from amateurs. Special Forces are not to be confused with guerillas. SF do have the job of training native forces, and that includes giving them some discipline. Originally the Green Berets were listed as a training command.

Putin tried to conquer Ukraine on the cheap by using plausibly deniable local irregulars, with a leaven of Russian troops inserted unofficially. For the last 50 years the rules against using irregulars have been relaxed. That was largely to enable the Palestinian and other non-state and insurgent forces, such as the Viet Cong or IRA or the ANC's Umkhonto we Sizwe, to gain support. There were reasons for the rules elaborated in the Geneva Conventions. The cost of ignoring those reasons is a less disciplined less efficient and sloppier force that wastes lives even when it doesn't serve their interest. Putin now has to fish or cut bait.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Note that the "regular" Soviet/Russia forces ave a less than stellar record in this regard.

In addition to the two off-course Korean airliners they shot down, it was not too long ago that an airliner was shot down when it came near an military exercise occurring near Bulgaria, I believe.

In contrast consider what occurred at the the first US Army Nike site. It was placed on Ft. Meade, and it differed from all the others Nike sites in being entirely above ground. It was common practice for Nike sites to track passing aircraft and conduct simulated firings. During one of these exercises water got into the circuitry and the missile was launched at the target. But since the safety pins were in place the missile broke up on launch. Pieces did fall on the BWI Parkway, and one missile officer retrieved them and tossed them into his car, only to have the corrosive rocket propellant eat out the bottom of his trunk.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy..."

- Barrack Hussein Obama
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here is what is known right now.

The Russians provided the Eastern Ukrainian separatists with a sophisticated surface to air missile system, the SA-11/17. The separatists have been bragging about their new missiles, including on social media, and the system has been sighted by news reporters in the eastern Ukraine.

Since Monday the Separatists have shot down 3 Ukrainian aircraft with their new system, including a cargo plane and an SU-25 fighter.

A Malaysian airliner was enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpour. It was crossing the eastern Ukraine at 33,000 feet and then crashed, apparently killing all 295 people on board. The Separatists immediately started bragging about shooting down another Ukrainian military transport plane.

It is pretty obvious that the missile downed the Malaysian airliner. Note that this comes just after new sanctions have been imposed by the US and Euros due to the Russians supplying more sophisticated weaponry to the Separatists.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have had Sky News coverage running in the background for the last twenty minutes. That coverage is similar to comments here in that it presumes that once Russia's culpability for this becomes undeniably clear, Putin will back off out of shame or in response to sanctions.

That could happen. But Putin could just as easily shrug it off by choosing to deny Russia's culpability or—even worse—by taking a "So, what?" tack. Who in the entire world is positioned to stop him?
9 weeks ago
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Obama?
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Shirley, you jest?
9 weeks ago
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9 weeks ago
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I imagine a post will be coming soon - looks like Russia just lost its war with Ukraine.

Always amazing to realize that one bad decision by one bit player can change everything in a moment. The fallout from this mornings events will last for years.

and that's how history is made. Not by the masterminds, but by the stooges.
9 weeks ago
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The central fact that central planners never seem to fully grasp.

A few guys with a Buk can change the world.

Kinda makes one wonder what a bunch of fascists with Manpads could do...
9 weeks ago
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It will be very interesting to find out who was on that plane.
9 weeks ago
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See below.

Luckily, I shorted Malaysian Air.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtPXoM2fT6I

Jeeze:

I was enjoying my little spot in heaven, prior to the Kardashians and all the rest of the crap I haven't watched on TV since then, when below heaven, I clicked on this:

FTR #779 OUN/B Redux: The Underground Reich and the Ukrainian Crisis...

http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-779-ounb-redux-the-underground-reich-and-the-ukrainian-crisis/
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
David Ignatius at the WP has come up with a subversive idea that, should it spread, will create extreme, extreme concern in DC:

WASHINGTON -- When Attorney General Eric Holder says that the Islamic State that has taken root in Iraq and Syria poses a "deadly" threat, and that he has "extreme, extreme concern" about its bomb-makers, that sounds like an emergency. Yet the Obama administration hasn't settled on a coordinated, aggressive response that might prevent this inferno from spreading.

The delay in framing a credible plan for stopping the Islamic State is part of a larger worry about President Obama's foreign policy. Even when this White House has good basic strategies, there is too often a lack of follow-through to coordinate the tools of national power. There is no prize for good intentions here. Performance is what matters.


No prize for good intentions here. David, David, David we've been handing out prizes for good intentions for years now -- as well as trillions of dollars. In fact, we not only hand out prizes and huge pots of cash for good intentions, we do it for the mere claim of good intentions (claims based on scant evidence and no demonstrated ability). For instance, let's take Health Care Reform. Before reform 90 percent of Americans said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their heath care. The media (18 percent approval) said that Congress (7 percent approval) should write thousands of pages of law that would direct the Federal Bureaucracy in DC (24 percent approval) to take dictatorial control of the sector of the economy with a 90 percent approval rating. If DC's control of the sector produces 51 percent approval it will all be declared a success. This power grab is justified by the mere claim of good intentions, with much contrary evidence available. Yet the Washington Post writes articles that assume, not just the good intentions, but that what the intentions produce will be good. Would the intentions of these Journalistic assumptions stand scrutiny?

David, David, David I grant this is only one discrete case, in one unimportant part of the world (the part that is outside DC), where you suggest no prize for good intentions. But what if the idea were to spread? And what if the intentions, themselves, were questioned? If we start examining the BS that DC produces, where will it end? Look at what is happening on our Southern border. What if the American people were to decide that the claimed good intentions are actually bad intentions? You see how subversive this idea is, David. It is not one you should spread. It is one you need to fight. Prizes for good intentions? Hell, yes! And automatic and undeserved budgetary increases, too.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/07/16/obamas_foreign_policy_shortcomings_123329.html#ixzz37jWBokVc
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9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Three cheers for Formally H.D. Greene!

Liberals have been running on or off the fumes of good intentions since at least back to LBJ.

...to no good effect save some imagined free BJ's from DC.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Winston Churchill made a lot of strategic mistakes in his life, some of them truly awful, and he did so in TWO world wars (who else can say that?). But then again, on some things, he was 110 percent right. IIRC, in his initial discussions with Roosevelt about the post-war world (this would be in '40 (Atlantic Charter time) and early '41 (Arcadia conference), he tried to suggest a post-war basically run benignly by the Anglo-sphere, but FDR, with his 500 Soviet spies in his Admin, was adamant against that.

I also seem to remember reading that Woodrow Wilson was offered by Republican big shots in the Senate a sort of worldly wise compromise on his League of Nations idea in which we, the US, would nix that but join with England and France in a sort of 1019 NATO mutual-defense pact instead of The Professor's One-World Government, but Woody stomped his foot and refused--he wanted what he wanted and wisdom of the sages be damned (they were Republicans, right?).

So I ask, oh Lord of Hosts and King of Heaven, WHY dost thou afflict us with these Democrat devils, who torment us so and make life on earth a mere idiotic misery (the UN is an idiotic misery, and the League of Nations a flaccid fools folly) when they don't make it a literal pure Hell, such that we keep repeating and repeating and repeating?

No reply yet, but these words drift up from the silence: "You always get the government you are willing to tolerate".

"Ambaist", as Myles na gCopleen would say, "Cén cat mara a shíol anseo mé?" (Hard to translate but you-all can guess the idea.)

An Préachán
9 weeks ago
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Mark Twain: "Patriotism is love of country, and support of its government when it deserves it"
9 weeks ago
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"Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?" - Jesus
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
The UN: A place where dictators opposed to free speech (Castro, Putin, Khameni, Mugabe, Obama, Ergodan, Kim Jong Un) demand to be heard.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
ha! Good one --
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
A combined haberdashery barbershop makeup salon where members get perfected for pulpit and camera, neither of which have olefactory receptors, thank their lucky stars.
9 weeks ago
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Can the UN be sued for the Sabra and Shatilla "massacres", since the Christian Lebanese soldiers who committed it (and I am not so sure it was a massacre) passed a UN checkpoint before they hit the Israeli one? How about their general inaction in Lebanon against missile-shooting terrorists?

BTW, there is a UN installation in Jerusalem, where the mandate office used to be. The Christian name for its location is the Hill of Evil Counsel. No kidding.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent Mr. Fernandez, as is almost all your stuff, and I particularly liked the Hotel Rwanda clip -- it's exactly what I thought of when I started the article. But, the Srebrenica massacre was of Bosnians not Kosovars.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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