Murphy's Law: September 28, 2000


: A panel commissioned by the UN has issued a report sharply criticizing UN peacekeeping operation and calling for quick changes to some of the most basic elements. Key points of the report include:

@ The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has only 32 military officers to supervise the activities of 28,000 peacekeeping troops, and nine police officers to supervise the 7,000 civilian police on UN duties. The report wants this headquarters expanded rapidly to provide adequate support and leadership. A dedicated task force of officers should be in charge of analyzing each peacekeeping mission, from studying ongoing conflicts to deciding if the UN could do any good to managing the deployment, operation, rotation, and withdrawal of the troops.

@ Member states must make a new commitment to support peacekeeping missions or the UN should stop doing them.

@ Peacekeeping should be part of the main UN budget rather than a separate budget. This is the most controversial recommendation. The report notes that by drawing from general UN funds, the troops will always have enough money. Critics charge that this is just a way for the bloated expense accounts of the UN bureaucrats to soak up more money.

@ Rules of engagement should be more robust so that UN troops can fire when they determine that they are in danger or under attack, and not have to wait until they are fired upon. The rules should also allow UN troops to take immediate action with deadly force to protect civilians and to use military action to punish whichever side violates a ceasefire rather than merely filing a notice of violation.

@ The UN should form a new information and strategic analysis (i.e., intelligence) division to support all of its departments that deal with peacekeeping or security.

@ There should be more systematic use of information technology.

@ The UN should have the capability to deploy peacekeeping troops within 30 days. Member nations should designate and train units that would be available for rapid deployment.--Stephen V Cole


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