The UN has been debating and twizzling around the idea of sending 5000 peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the beginning of the year. Reasoning is to put an end to the Central African conflict before it becomes larger than just the central region. There are lots of reasons and underlying causes which started the war [the Rwanda genocide, rebellions, supporting Kabila who just put his own feet into Mobutu’s shoes, high population density and overpopulation leading to the need to grab more land, economic reasons including the vast mineral wealth of the Congo, the need to institute democratic processes in the Congo etcetcetc]. Everyone agrees that peace must come, but of these folks are calling for peace on their terms only.
The US has offered up funds and indirect support, but given the debacle in Somalia, the Clinton Admin refuses to send troops. Other European countries feel just about the same way. Other African countries, including South Africa and Nigeria, are willing to send their troops. Unfortunately, the horrible mess in Sierra Leone [holding UN troops as hostages] has put a real spanner in the works. Now folks are saying that they will not commit peacekeeping troops until there is an effective ceasefire. Meanwhile, hundreds and thousands of people are unable to be productive members of their community; they are unable to live in peace, they are faced with malnutrition, death by raiding rebels or local militias.
My question: Should the United Nations hire mercenaries to establish peace in areas that have fallen completely out of civic order? The arguments put forth in the press yesterday
a. Mercenaries are killers for hire. They will not flinch in face of real combat. They are also disciplined soldiers rather than 13 year olds just given a gun.
b. They are well-trained and cost-effective. They cost less than a national army and they come with no political garbage to drag them down in effectively getting the job done.
c. Mercenary forces are multinational and multilingual.
South African Executive Choices [?] was cited as an effective force.
Is the act of engaging mercenaries to end bloody, senseless
conflicts in keeping with the general “vision” of the United Nations? On the other hand, don’t we owe Africans the same right to peace as done for Eastern Europeans in Bosnia and Kosovo and if hiring mercenaries is the only way to do it, why not?