Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

And You Thought the White House Press Corps Was Anti-War?

After nine Peacekeepers were killed in Congo, Peacekeepers set out on a mission to cordon off an area. On the mission, they were attacked by rebels and responded, killing 50 rebels. Simple enough; unless you're unfortunate enough to face the UN press corps. Here are their questions from today's briefing, showing that they're pretty darn outraged that Peacekeepers might become lifetakers:
Concerning the DRC operation, can you be more specific about what “search and cordon” means. Are they really going after these guys? To what extent does this represent a change in the mandate or a shift in strategy?

Were they going after these guys? Was this an operation to go out and get these guys and kill them?

Are the military exchanges between the militias and the peacekeepers a direct result of the United Nations’ more robust policy? You weren’t seeing these kinds of lethal exchanges in the past.

It looks like these militias were responding violently because they were seeing a greater challenge through this more robust United Nations peacekeeping mission. [May favorite; blame it on the UN.]

Does the United Nations believe that this militia is being supported by Uganda, and is the United Nations calling on Uganda to stop its support this militia?

Was the operation in Loga a response to the killing of the Bangladeshis?

You mentioned that this is more of a secure area thing than go out seek and destroy those people responsible for killing the peacekeepers. Is there some sort of mechanism under discussion or in the planning coming out soon to establish some sort of deterrence, so that this sort of thing doesn’t repeat itself? Such as holding the militias responsible, or at least showing some sort of severe response from the United Nations forces on the ground?

When did the more robust approach (in the DRC) begin? Did it begin after last week’s attack?

Was this one of many search-and-cordon operations going on, or was this the first one going on?

Could you clarify how this is managed and observed, since we’re seeing a more aggressive United Nations stance? Is this done through the military component of peacekeeping? How does the civilian component come in and inform and decide on exactly when the soldiers are going to go in and take on these people? Are they any non-military people who are observing and providing some non-military account of what went on?

First of all, I just want to know how we know that an account given to us by the soldiers is correct, whether the United Nations civilian command even trusts what its military command is saying. Also, does a tactical manoeuvre have to be okayed, and what is the highest civilian level that the United Nations has that would have to okay an operation in which lots of people get killed.

Is this the deadliest attack on a United Nations group in a decade or something like that? Do have any sense of when there’s been such a bloody incident involving the United Nations in which it was responsible for killing people.

Were the attack helicopters part of the original search-and-cordon operation? Did they go in with big, heavy guns, prepared to carry out the major military operation that they needed to?

So you didn’t go on a search-and-destroy mission, but you went with a significant contingent bristling with guns and attack helicopters into an area where there was a vast amount of militia ready for a fight. Would a decision to put that many people with a potentially aggressive posture in a situation have to go up to the Secretary-General, or William Swing, or the force commander?

I heard that the nine peacekeepers who were killed were lined up, shot in the back of the head, executed in style. Do you have any information about that?

You said the peacekeeping force came under fire from mortars and other heavy armaments. What other heavy armaments?

Given that the United Nations has killed 60 people, that seems to be an episode of sufficient gravity that we should have a briefing.
Whew. Going through this, I found myself wondering why the UN press corps doesn't question anywhere near this aggressively on the ongoing pedophilia by Peacekeepers.