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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Any Doubt Now Where The UN's Loyalties Lie?

We make no mystery about how we feel about the UN. It's an ineffectual, incompetant, corrupt organization who's time has come and gone more times than I can count. And Lori Marcus' new piece in the Weekly Standardgives us one more reason to despise the UN:

DURING THE RECENT month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel, U.N. "peacekeeping" forces made a startling contribution: They openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hezbollah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon.

UNIFIL--the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a nearly 2,000-man blue-helmet contingent that has been present on the Lebanon-Israel border since 1978--is officially neutral. Yet, throughout the recent war, it posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction. New information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was posted, and never more than 24 hours old.

In war, minutes are life, and with the information that Hezbollah was receiving, had Israel mounted a significant frontal assault, and Hezbollah been prepared, the IDF would have been marchng into a meat grinder. Troop movements, contingency numbers, equipment, and units; hell, it was like Israel was giving Hezbollah a guided tour.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of specific intelligence regarding Hezbollah forces. Statements on the order of Hezbollah "fired rockets in large numbers from various locations" and Hezbollah's rockets "were fired in significantly larger numbers from various locations" are as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got.

This war was fought on cable television and the Internet, and a lot of official information was available in real time. But the specific military intelligence UNIFIL posted could not be had from any non-U.N. source. The Israeli press--always eager to push the envelope--did not publish the details of troop movements and logistics. Neither the European press nor the rest of the world media, though hardly bastions of concern for the safety of Israeli troops, provided the IDF intelligence details that UNIFIL did. A search of Israeli government websites failed to turn up the details published to the world each day by the U.N.

I'm sure the world would like to know where that information was coming from. We're not talking about a news report about the aftermath of a confrontation here. We're talking about information given before a move is made. We either have someone within Olmert's inner circle that can't keep their mouth shut, or we have a high-ranking officer who can't do it that's privy to much of that information. (I doubt the officer theory for the sheer reason that Olmert is facing a minor mutiny within the IDF right now because of how he went about the war.)

Inquiries made of various Israeli military and government representatives and analysts yielded near unanimous agreement that at least some of UNIFIL's postings, in the words of one retired senior military analyst, "could have exposed Israeli soldiers to grave danger." These analysts, including a current high ranking military official, noted that the same intelligence would not have been provided by the U.N. about Israel's enemies.

Sure enough, a review of every single UNIFIL web posting during the war shows that, while UNIFIL was daily revealing the towns where Israeli soldiers were located, the positions from which they were firing, and when and how they had entered Lebanese territory, it never described Hezbollah movements or locations with any specificity whatsoever.

Compare the vague "various locations" language with this UNIFIL posting from July 25:

Yesterday and during last night, the IDF moved significant reinforcements, including a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry, to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The IDF advanced from that area north toward Bint Jubayl, and south towards Yarun.

Or with the posting on July 24, in which UNIFIL revealed that the IDF stationed between Marun Al Ras and Bint Jubayl were "significantly reinforced during the night and this morning with a number of tanks and armored personnel carriers."

Anyone think Hezbollah was going to attack them after that was up? Hello? We live in a 21st Century world, and our enemies employ much of the same tactics we do, especially in the cyber realms. In other words, they can operate a computer and a mouse just as easily as we can. UNIFIL obviously knows this, and went to great lengths to employ the Internet into Hezbollah's repetoire of tactics.

This partiality is inconsistent not only with UNIFIL's mission but also with its own stated policies. In a telling incident just a few years back, UNIFIL vigorously insisted on its "neutral ity"--at Israel's expense.

On October 7, 2000, three IDF soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah just yards from a UNIFIL shelter and dragged across the border into Lebanon, where they disappeared. The U.N. was thought to have videotaped the incident or its immediate aftermath. Rather than help Israel rescue its kidnapped soldiers by providing this evidence, however, the U.N. obstructed the Israeli investigation.

For months the Israeli government pleaded with the U.N. to turn over any videotape that might shed light on the location and condition of its missing men. And for nine months the U.N. stonewalled, insisting first that no such tape existed, then that just one tape existed, and eventually conceding that there were two more tapes. During those nine months, clips from the videotapes were shown on Syrian and Lebanese television.

Explaining their eventual about-face, U.N. officials said the decision had been made by the on-site commanders that it was not their responsibility to provide the material to Israel; indeed, that to do so would violate the peacekeeping mandate, which required "full impartiality and objectivity." The U.N. report on the incident was adamant that its force had "to ensure that military and other sensitive information remains in their domain and is not passed to parties to a conflict."

Stymied in its efforts to recover the men while they were still alive, Israel ultimately agreed to an exchange in January 2004: It released 429 Arab prisoners and detainees, among them convicted terrorists, and the bodies of 60 Lebanese decedents and members of Hezbollah, in exchange
for the bodies of the three soldiers. Blame for the deaths of those three Israelis can be laid, at least in part, at the feet of the U.N., which went to the wall defending its inviolable pledge never to share military intelligence about one party with another.

Neutrality? Yes, they can say it, but I doubt they can comprehend the concept. This is another example of that neutrality. They have the same idea when investigating themselves. There will be neutrality as long as no one in the UN is held responsible.

UNIFIL has just done what it then vowed it could never do. Once again, it has acted to shield one side in the conflict and to harm the other. Why is this permitted? For that matter, how did the U.N. obtain such detailed and timely military intelligence in the first place, before broadcasting it for Israel's enemies to see?

We have railed about the UN in the past. And we have been more than justified. They turned a blind eye to Rwanda and Darfur. They "investigated" the Congo sex abuse, and found no one at fault, really. A slap on the hand, and a few months later, it's erupting again in the Congo. Oil-For-Food we thought was the breaking point, but all Washington did was yawn. Corruption, it seems, isn't considered a "bad" thing for the UN. Now we have them helping an enemy of one of our closest allies; an enemy of the US, as well.

What does this say for our relations and participation in such an organization. It doesn't bode well for us if some stink isn't raised over this. And not just from Israel. If it comes from them alone, Kofi Annan will file that complaint in the same round file he chose with the first batch of complaints from them after Hezbollah violated the cease-fire the first time. The US, Britain, Australia, and anyone else out there with some fortitude need to make some hay about this. The world needs to have the curtain parted to see that behind the curtain, there's a cockroach at the helm of an organization that used to have promise.

Now, it's a joke. It's another bureaucracy that needs to die. The funds need to be withdrawn. Our troops acting as peacekeepers need to be brought home. And then they need to shown the door out of our country. Let them go over to "Old" Europe where they'll be welcome. If this goes unremarked and unaccounted for, then said inaction should ring loud and clear to the Western nations of the world that the UN just can't be trusted, and should be abandoned.

Publius II


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