The Corner

Un Heroes

The UN rank-and-file want to pull out their 35 people in Iraq:

In a joint letter to Mr Annan, the staff organisations cited a dramatic escalation in attacks in Iraq and said the UN regrettably “has become a direct target, one that is particularly prone to attacks by ruthless extremist terrorist factions”.

“Just one staff member is one staff member too many in Iraq,” they said.

“We … appeal to your good judgment to ensure that no further staff members be sent to Iraq and that those already deployed be instructed to leave as soon as possible.”

Mr Annan pulled all UN international staff out of Iraq a year ago, following two bombings at UN headquarters in Baghdad and a spate of attacks on humanitarian workers. The first bombing, on August 22, last year, killed the top UN envoy, Sergio Viera de Mello, and 21 others.

But this snippet says it all:

“If some of the UN staff want to go against the wishes of Sergio Viera de Mello, we would hope the secretary-general would recognize that the UN exists to help governments in crises, like the 10,800 UN peacekeepers in the Congo or the 35 UN workers in Iraq,” he said.

Yep, 10,800 UN peacekeepers in Congo. Thirty-five “workers” in Iraq. Sounds like the right distribution.

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