Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The follies of the UN

Many people have high hopes for the United Nations. That’s why many are appealing to the UN to resolve the threat of US-NATO war against Syria. It’s a hard thing to give up pipe dreams but when it comes to world peace, the UN is the wrong place to appeal. You might get a better reception at the Pentagon. The UN functions as a coordinating committee for neoliberal & colonial interests, not as an arbiter of conflict.

Its reports on international human rights violations are sometimes useful, its commemorative days calling for an end to world hunger move so many privileged school children to tears of pity, & UNICEF sure does put out touching greeting cards. But mostly the UN serves as an agency of war--providing sanctions & threats to cover for the aggressors. It also provides its own troops to aid & abet world plunder--being second to the US in the number of troops deployed worldwide. Its conduct in Haiti & the DR Congo merit it a special place in hell. One of its most egregious war crimes is introducing cholera to Haiti & then washing its hands of any culpability or responsibility for cleaning up the water contamination introduced by UN troops.

Making news today is a 2010 report the UN human rights commission issued on poverty in Afghanistan. It’s a worthless thing so only God knows why anyone would cite it three years later. If you question the damnations here expressed do read that regrettable document--& weep! The thing is 26 pages of long-winded cliches, banalities, just outright idiocies about the character of poverty in Afghanistan. Nine years into the US-NATO war & the UN barely mentions the presence of those troops! Odd that, since if you asked the average Afghan citizen, the war would be their first explanation for worsening poverty.

The report does note that an estimated $35 billion USD in “reconstruction” aid was “poured” into the country between 2002 to 2009 but adds that much of this dough was used for military purposes. The UN doesn’t ask for any accounting from the NGOs who were supposed to be dispersing the money or why there is so little evidence of any dispersal whatsoever. It also doesn’t mention the suitcases of bribery cash the CIA & USAID were wheeling into government offices to grease the wheels of their drug operation. Nor do they ask why countries are providing reconstruction money while the US is still attacking the country with drone aircraft. So many unanswered questions that  Rupert Colville speaking for the UN just cannot address. When the depth of your analysis is satisfied with platitudes like poverty is “closely related to inequality & frequently accompanied by a sense of powerlessness & exclusion,” you know our man Rupert is in over his head.

Media frequently cite the main conclusion of the report that abuse of power by Afghan officials is the key driver of poverty. They’re referring to the drug dealers the US installed in office & the ones being bribed by the CIA. So what’s the beef? That UN officials aren’t getting their share? A little more flattery for the right people & a little less exposé for others should clear that up pretty fast.

The UN report uses the World Bank standard for poverty which is $1.25 USD per day which means 36% of Afghanis live in absolute poverty & another 37% live just slightly above that $1.25 a day mark. Let’s cut the crap! That means nearly 75% of war-stressed Afghanis are malnourished because there isn’t a place on this planet where $1.25 is sufficient for anything. It’s not enough for a cup of coffee in most places. Most of us living on that paltry sum would starve to death. Why can’t the damn UN report just say that outright!? Because it’s not in the business of making peace; it’s in the business of peddling war. It’s in the business of pawning off baloney as chateaubriand--& $1.25 as a poverty line rather than the absolute starvation point!

(Photo of Afghan child at a refugee camp in Kabul, May 2012 by Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

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