The guardian recently crunched the numbers to calculate the impact of MONUC’s military operations intended to disarm those pesky FDLR. Word on the street, 1 FDLR rebel costs a lot. Texas in Africa does some more math and figures that the for each FDLR rebel convinced to relax for a while:
- 1 civilian was killed.
- 7 people were violently raped.
- 900 people were displaced from their homes.
- 6 people lost their homes to arson.
If you threw in some crayons, it might make the deal a little less like a grave human rights atrocity, right?
It does beg one of the most complicated humanitarian questions: what’s the best way to disarm a rebel and how much should it cost? It’s a tough question when modeling how to effectively stop violence. If we accept that there will be a cost, what is it? 6 people violently raped? 200,000 displaced? The cost of continued rebel violence minus the costs of stopping the rebels (assuming that they actually stop)? And what happens when we model those costs probabilistically – are we 50% confident that 200,000 people will be displaced and what’s our margin of error?
I don’t envy anyone making these decisions, but thankfully, in the head of MONUC’s Friday briefing to the UN Security Council, Alan Doss reflectively and critically analyzed these questions given Kimia II’s failings:
MONUC is the first mission in which the Force Commander has issued a specific directive on civilian protection to all contingents. Under that directive, MONUC blue helmets provide protection against attacks by the FDLR and other armed elements and patrol key axes to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance. On market days, peacekeepers provide armed escorts so that villagers can travel to and from the marketplace without fear of harassment and illegal taxation by armed groups.
Sorry, I got confused. I was sure the presentation to the UN security council on the tail-end of a massive military campaign led by the largest peacekeeping mission in the world, would you know, consider its ramifications. Guess it was a bit heavy or something.
Fortunately, MONUC’s directive has resulted in a lot of really great pictures of peacekeepers and African children used for fund-raising.