The Good Old Days

Monday, July 31, 2006
Remember the 90's before Bush came along and everything was so nice and peaceful....

From Wikipedia

The Rwandan Genocide is the massacre of an estimated 800,000 to 1,071,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during a period of 100 days from April 6th through mid-July 1994.

For many, the Rwandan Genocide stands out as historically significant, not only because of the sheer number of people murdered in such a short period of time, but also because of how inadequately the United Nations (particularly, its Western members such as the U.S. and France) responded (or failed to respond) to or were even complicit in the atrocities. Despite intelligence provided before the killing began, and international news media coverage reflecting the true scale of violence as the Genocide unfolded, most first-world countries declined to intervene.

The United Nations established UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda), in October 1993 "to help implement the Arusha Peace Agreement signed by the Rwandan parties on 4 August 1993"; its "mandate" ended in 1996 (UNAMIR official website). Prior to and during those horrific 100 days in 1994, the UN did not authorize UNAMIR to intervene and to use force quickly and/or effectively enough to halt the killing and other atrocities in Rwanda. While it "adjusted" UNAMIR's "mandate and strength . . . on a number of occasions in the face of the tragic events of the genocide and the changing situation in the country" (official website), given UN Security Council policy and various procedural constraints and other limitations imposed on UNAMIR, the United Nations failed to prevent the Genocide.


In the weeks prior to the attacks, the UN did not respond to reports of Hutu militias amassing weapons and rejected plans for a pre-emptive interdiction. Despite numerous pre- and present-conflict warnings by Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, the United Nations insisted on maintaining its rules of engagement and preventing its peacekeepers on the ground from engaging the militias or discharging their weapons, except in self-defense. Such failure to intervene in a timely and effective manner to halt the killing became the focus of bitter recriminations toward the United Nations, Western countries such as France and the United States, and individual policymakers, including Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and President Clinton, who described US inaction as "the biggest regret of my administration."[1]

And then there was this: Kosovo . Talk about contentious there are still people who say this had more to do with oil or Clinton's love life than it had to do with genocide.

Nor should we forget Saddam Hussein and his murder of hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Today we see what is happening in the Middle East and we forget that not so long ago, more people died in Waco, Texas in a government assault gone awry than died in Qana yesterday or Iraq today. Maybe Stalin was right. Maybe one death is a tragedy, but a million is just a statistic.

18 comments:

Skookumchuk said...

Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh.

Wow. Here I thought growing up with a name like "Skookumchuk" was pretty exotic.

Pastorius said...

Terrye,
I've got a question for you, and anyone else here at this blog who might care to give me their opinion.

Why is it that people oppose what the American government did at Waco? As I understand it, they were trying to arrest Mr. Koresh, and he decided he would hole himself up in his compound instead of coming along peacefully. From my perspective, he was in violation of the law, and as I understand it, there was some concern about the people who were inside with him. So, it seems to me that while the government may have made mistakes, they were only trying to do their job. It seems to me Koresh was the criminal.

Can anyone enlighten me otherwise here?

I bring up the question, because I get tired of people bringing up Waco as evidence of Clinton's abusive policies. I actually liked Clinton. I think the hatred of him was almost as irrational as is the hatred of George Bush.

chuck said...

pastorius,

Not speaking for myself, but the second admendment libertarians and even some yellow dog Texas Democrats that I know feel that the government was overstepping their bounds, that they had little or no business getting involved, and that once they did they went totally overboard. A case that arouses similar emotions is Ruby Ridge. Note that Ruby Ridge was in 1992 and set the tone for Waco.

Seneca the Younger said...

Pastorius, the main point I think is that we don't generally figure burning down a building and burning lots of people alive is a desirable way of dealing with an arrest warrant.

I'm sorry, were you under the impression it was standard practice?

Moneyrunner said...

Pastorius,

The siege at Waco was a case history of governmental over-reaction. Koresh was going to be arrested on a weapons charge, in effect, of owning too many guns. The Feds decided to make a TV spectacular out of the arrest, stormed the Branch Davidian compound with 76 ATF agents that ended in a shootout leaving 4 ATF agents and 6 Branch Davidians dead. He siege escalated and ended in the burning death of over 80 people, mostly women and children.

I’m not blaming Clinton for Waco, although Washington Justice quickly took over and gave the orders for the final assault that ended in the fiery death. What disgusted me was Clinton’s response to questions about the siege and its aftermath: “Don’t ask me, ask Janet Reno.” Apparently he was busy with other things, perhaps staining little blue dresses while the siege that mesmerized the country went on for weeks.

reliapundit said...

grrrrrrrrrreat reporting.

Syl said...

I don't share the libertarian view of Waco. I think the whole episode was tragic but neither do I think the Feds should simply have walked away.

Fresh Air said...

Back to the post...

Let's not forget the man who told Romeo Dallaire to back away and not engage the machete-wielders...
...Kofi Annan.

Hasn't changed much, has he?

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Terrye,

Back to the original point, you must keep in mind that anything that occurs without the presence of the Western cameras doesn't really exist.

terrye said...

MHA:

Ah yes, I forget.

Pastorius, I did not dislike Clinton, I was disapointed in him. Big difference.

As for Waco, Reno screwed up. They should have arrested that crazy man on one of his frequent trips to Walmart and left the kids out of it. That was a decade for poor choices when it came to rules of engagement. Please note how no one said that they should not use military force on the Davidians because it would just make more Davidians.

terrye said...

Syl:

I don't think they should have walked away either. My point is that even in America when bad people get control of large numbers of civilians, those civilians get caught in the line of fire. And sometimes even in America the numbers can be shocking.

nomdeblog said...

fresh air makes a very good point - The director of UN Peacekeeping Operations at the time of the Rwanda massacres went on to become the Secretary General. How crazy is that?

It’s as if the guy that designed the Edsel got to be CEO of Ford? Errr … did he?

Pastorius said...

Seneca The Younger,

No, I don't think burning down a building and killing people is the way to deal with an arrest warrant. Neither do I think that hole oneself up in ones house is the way to deal with an arrest warrant. Nor is firing on police. Nor is burning one's house down.

Pastorius said...

I am in Syl's camp. I just don't understand the idea that the government does not have the right to serve an arrest warrant and expect the people in a house to comply.

For God's sake, if that were the case then every idiot gangbanger in the world would just have to refuse to answer the frickin' door, and have his "moms" go pick him up McDonald's everyday until the police got bored with the situation and left.

What's the other alternative?

Pastorius said...

Terrye,
"They should have arrested him on one of his many trips to Wal-Mart."

Yes, I agree, they should have. They screwed up, didn't they?

But, is that reason to go around saying the government has turned into a totalitarian police state.

The right was almost as unhinged on this case as the left has been on the war.

I was sick to my stomach in almost the same way back in those days.

I will never forget hearing the Clinton Chronicles advertised and discussed on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

America has to get over this insane schism-making in its politics. I understand that it is hard not to be that way. Currently, we have a left that wants to portray America as a rogue nation, engaged in a war which it is imagining. How are we supposed to meet up with such a viewpoint?

I don't know.

But, I do have to wonder if the left would go so unhinged if the right didn't participate in the politics of insanity. I have to wonder if the right made their bed, and is now being required to sleep in it.

Oh yes, and I am old enough to know that it goes further back than the Clinton era. I remember the Iran/Contra Scandal. I remember Watergate. I remember the Viet Nam war. I think it all started back then.

No, probably goes back further than that.

terrye said...

pastorius:

I never said that America is a totalitarian state. That is ridiculous. My point is that people make a bigger deal out of what happened in Qana than they did about what happened in Waco. They assume that the Israelis are culpable, but the Clinton administration was not. At the time I supported going in there at Waco, but it was a dumbass move. They handled it badly.

Pastorius said...

Terrye,

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. When I wrote that the incident at Waco was used to make the case that America had become a kind of totalitarian state, I was referring to the rhetoric of 90's era right wing Republicans.

Pastorius said...

By the way, sorry to have taken this discussion off on such a tangent. I respect your opinion, and the opinions of the other bloggers here, so I wanted to see what you guys thought about Waco. I've always been perplexed by the whole Waco uproar.