Why did I think the UN was a good idea?

In the northeastern town of Bunia (northeastern DRCongo, that is) 400 or so people have been killed because of the terrible crime of being in the wrong tribe. (Yes, “tribe”, not “ethnic group.” I’ll try not to get sidetracked.) Meanwhile, 1000 UN troops, under the somewhat absurd name of “peacekeepers”, are there. Apparently they are watching. This is the bit that’s unclear to me. They are peacekeepers, but they are not authorized to intervene. Exactly how does one keep the peace without intervening?

Meanwhile, in the hallowed halls of the UN, France is recommending that we send more peacekeepers, who will presumably keep the peace just as effectively as the ones that are there. They think that it will take these additional troops more than 2 months to get to Bunia. Yes, it is difficult to get to Bunia, I’ll gladly grant that. But 2 months? Are they planning to drive from Paris?

I’m becoming increasingly unclear why I used to think that the UN is a good idea. I suppose it could be, if the veto was not quite so frequently used, and if the UN actually did the things that it said it was going to do, rather than standing around meekly hoping that their presence is enough. Seems that the US spends billions of dollars each year to support an organization that is ineffective, and, to a large extent, works against our interests.

The cause of keeping global peace is a noble one, and I’m all for that. But if keeping the peace means that 1000 well armed men (with shiny white tanks even!) stand around while 400+ civilians are brutally raped and hacked to pieces, then I’m not real sure that we have the same notions of what peace looks like.