Peace Time: September 12, 1999

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Peacekeeping has become a splendid economic opportunity for the troops of developing nations. While wealthier nations are expected to pay their own way, cash strapped countries get paid by the UN. The troops make several (up to ten times) more than their regular pay. But there are other advantages. From the individual soldiers point of view, peacekeeping duty is a welcome break from the tedium of  peacetime soldiering. There is some danger in peacekeeping operations, but not nearly as much as normal combat. Just enough danger to provide some welcome excitement, but not so much so that you have a high probability of getting killed or injured. Then there are the things you don't hear so much about. The peacekeeping troops are, in most cases, a replacement for the police in a strife torn area. Some peacekeeping troops, often from nations where the police are corrupt, abuse their police powers to engage in black market activities. Other soldiers go even further, getting in extortion and prostitution rackets. The officers often look the other way, either because they don't want to anger their heavily armed troops, or because the officers are getting a piece of the action. The population being assisted is usually poverty stricken and terrorized. The troops often use their position as rescuers to do a little looting of their own, and to take advantage of the local women. All this unsightly behavior is kept out of the media as much as possible. But there's a dark side to everything, even good deeds.


 


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