Thursday, July 27, 2006

Peacekeeper Killed: Kill Peacekeeping?

The great Canadian peacekeeping myth officially died in Afghanistan when the Canadian public realized that our military acquitted itself better in combat than in all the ill-defined United Nations missions to date.

But our opposition politicians insist on keeping it alive:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under attack by political opponents over his Middle East policy, said yesterday he will seek explanations from the United Nations and the Israeli government about the "terrible tragedy" that killed a Canadian peacekeeper in Lebanon.

Mr. Harper described as "troubling" events surrounding the Israeli attack that killed four peacekeepers, including Canadian Major Paeta Derek Hess-von Kruedener, who was serving with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. Canadian officials characterized the major as missing and presumed dead.

The peacekeepers were killed when a bomb hit their post in the town of Khiyam, near the eastern end of Lebanon's border with Israel.

The Prime Minister offered no condemnation of Israel for the deadly bombing and instead suggested that the United Nations should not have put the men in harm's way.

Of course. The United Nations force was there to supervise a truce, not to actually enforce it. What could the UN have done over there, undermanned and underarmed, to prevent Hezbollah from firing rockets at Israeli civilians and Israel from striking back?

Ask Alexa McDonough and Bill Graham:

Members of the opposition were quick to criticize Mr. Harper's failure to demand an apology from the Israelis. And they condemned the Conservative decision to side with Israel in the dispute, saying Canada has abandoned its traditional role of peace broker in the region.

"I think Canadians are justifiably very distressed about how Harper tossed in the towel on diplomacy from Day 1. He is basically just prepared to be on the other end of George Bush's tether and essentially played no role whatsoever in pressing for a ceasefire that is desperately, desperately needed," said Alexa McDonough, the NDP foreign affairs critic.

Liberal Leader Bill Graham said Major Hess-von Kruedener died doing what Canadians expect of their people in the Middle East: keeping peace.

"Canada for a long time had a traditional role in the Middle East that was difficult but it was one that enabled us to be an interlocutor that [allowed] us over the long time to advance the cause of peace," Mr. Graham said.

"Mr. Harper, for his reasons whether they are domestic politically or ideological has chose to abandon that position of Canada and now we are seeing what can be the long-term consequences of that."

In other words, call for a ceasefire so that Hezbollah can rearm, regroup and perhaps bring in Iranian and Syrian forces to launch a full-scale invasion of Israel. All the while blithering about "multilateral diplomatic solutions" and "ending the cycle of violence."

Major Hess-von Kreudener did not die keeping the peace: there was never a peace to be kept. He died so that the United Nations could maintain its hypocritical position of appearing to do something while secretly cheering for Hezbollah.

Let there be no more pointless sacrifices for the United Nations.

Source: Globe and Mail

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