Thursday, June 30, 2005

Annan to US: Please invade

It's impossible to not see the irony in this situation. After years of berating the United States and obstructing every move that even remotely involved military action, Kofi Annan has come to Secretary Rice and asked for the US to put troops into Haiti.

::::::::United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the United States this week to consider sending troops to Haiti to support a U.N. peacekeeping mission beset by mounting armed challenges to its authority, according to senior U.N. officials.

Annan told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a meeting at U.N. headquarters Tuesday afternoon that he may have to ask for American "boots on the ground" in the coming months to reinforce more than 6,500 Brazilian, Chilean, Argentine and other peacekeeping forces serving in Haiti, the officials said.

He expressed hope that the United States would participate in a planned U.N. rapid reaction force, authorized by the Security Council earlier this month, that would have the firepower to intimidate armed gangs threatening the country's fragile political transition. Officials said that similar requests are being considered for other countries, including Canada and France. "We want scarier troops," one senior U.N. official said.

Yes, I'd imagine they do. The UN's mission in Haiti took over from the United States who put troops into Haiti to stabilize the situation after Aristide's departure. The UN's troops are basically filled by and lead by Brazil. Annan's confidence in them is, apparently, wavering. I've got 2 basic thoughts on the matter, and both of them say we should steadfastly not send troops there.

First, I think that before we send so much as an MRE there, the French, Germans, and Russians should step their asses up and send troops. And they can find their own way there, too. After the resistance we got from those three in sending troops to Iraq (which we now know was being bought with Saddam's oil certificates) I don't think any of that group has any standing to be suggesting we go in anywhere. If Annan needs troops, let him get them from those guys first. If they turn out to be unable to hack it, then we can talk. Until then, they can just pitch in and do some of the heavy lifting if the UN's that important a body to them.

The second thought I have is that it's got to be a real morale-buster to the Brazilian troops that Annan's looking to replace them. The implication of that comment from the "senior UN official" about needing scarier troops is pretty clear: that Brazilians aren't scaring anyone. To put that into more military language, they're not intimidating and that means they're not effective. If I was a Brazilian squad leader, it'd bust my chops pretty good to have that getting spread around by the UN's people. Of course, we don't know for sure why the UN really wants us there. Are the Brazilians really that ineffective or has the UN tied their hands so badly they can't do the job? Definitely something to answer before any American boots hit the Haitian soil.