We Take it Back
By James Taranto
July 26, 2006
OK, al-Maliki isn't as bad as Annan. The New York Sun reports on the secretary-general's latest pronouncement:
The United Nations yesterday suffered casualties in the fighting, and Secretary-General Annan immediately accused the Israeli Defense Force of a "deliberate targeting" of four blue-helmeted U.N. observers.
Military sources said the incident occurred during an air and artillery attack near Khiyam,at the eastern region of southern Lebanon, where the IDF was preparing a large ground assault meant to create a Hezbollah-free buffer zone on the area north of Israel's border. Four members of the United Nations's interim force in Lebanon, identified as being from Canada, Austria, China, and Finland, were killed.
"I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defense Forces of a U.N. observer post in southern Lebanon," Mr. Annan said yesterday in a late-night statement released in Rome, where he is attending a meeting of top players steering attempts to find solutions in the Lebanon war.
The Sun offers some context for Annan's baseless and almost certainly false charge:
Mr. Annan, who according to diplomats was accompanied by the U.N. peacekeeping chief, Undersecretary-General Jean Marie Guehenno, as he released the statement, believes he could not promote placing an international force in southern Lebanon if he does not appear to support his troops, according to a source familiar with yesterday's statement.
But is he really supporting his troops? IMRA quotes Lewis MacKenzie, a retired Canadian general, who in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. today lamented "the tragic loss of a soldier yesterday who I happen to know and I think probably is from my Regiment." Gen. MacKenzie continued:
We've received e-mails from him a few days ago and he described the fact that he was taking [fire] within--in one case--three meters of his position "for tactical necessity--not being targeted." Now that's veiled speech in the military and what he was telling us was Hizbullah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were (sic) targeting them and that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it.
(Hat tip: Daniel Freedman.)
All this raises the question of why the U.N. hasn't evacuated its "peacekeepers." The irony is that while they have failed to keep the peace, Israel is carrying out the U.N.-mandated disarmament of Hezbollah. Annan ought to be thanking, not condemning, Jerusalem.