By Marcus Fisk
In past columns, I have written about a smorgasbord of ideas, history, issues, and fun-facts-to-know-and-tell. Usually, I have tried to do it with a broad brush of satire or at least a dash of humor to take the edge off of what would normally be the heavy load on our shoulders.
WARNING: What you are about to read is no holds barred. There is no intent on my part here to take a balanced, light, or nuanced view. If you are a more moderate individual, you may want to skip this column and read something else. There is certainly something for everyone in the Zebra, but this is probably not for you.
I have lived all over the world in my formative years as an Army brat and later in my career as a Naval Officer. Growing up my parents were very encouraging about immersing ourselves in the culture where we were stationed. Through life, I frequently went off the beaten path in my military travels. I went on photo safaris in Kenya, on a long distance sampan (canoe) trip in Burma, hiked jungle trails in Malaysia, climbed Australian mountains, had a family dinner in a tenement building with a family in Mexico, collected natural fruits and vegetables for a local, home-cooked meal in Panama, swam in waterfalls in the Philippines, and eaten every sort of local cuisine off of carts on street corners in over 29 countries of the world. I cut my diplomatic teeth in Iraq when I arranged the delivery of a donated, 1,000 lb. radio transmission tower for the only all-women talk radio station in Baghdad in 2006. This was accomplished via out-of-pocket cash paid to my interpreter to a wide and creative variety of local ‘contractors’ who provided trucks, cranes and heavy equipment to install the tower atop one of the tallest buildings in town.
I had regular dealings with the United Nations Assistance Mission Iraq (UNAMI) and have the highest opinion of them. When a diplomat goes to work every day in a really, really bad part of town, unarmed – has been blown up four times in his SUV with IEDs and shot at from other ‘small arms’ — that’s major-league huevos.
However, the United Nations today has lost its punch. It used to be a bunch of disgruntled ‘Members’ which all got together to put an economic or military voodoo curse on the offender until the derelict came into compliance — or at least until he said he was sorry, would not do it again, and wrote a great big check of penance. The offender realized if he wanted to sell poorly made cars at bargain-basement prices overseas, open hotel resorts in forgotten villages, have Hollywood movies filmed there or have millionaires build gated condo developments with significant tax breaks, then they would have to promise to play well with others, or else the U.N. would send over a multi-national military force and stomp on them. It really sucks when some soldier in a blue beret who can’t order a Coke in your language, read a street sign, or doesn’t pray to your God, comes to town carting an automatic weapon and an attitude (remember, he’s away from home), and tells you what time you have to go home from Disco Damascus.
At least in the old days, if the civilized world said you were being ‘contrary’ or a meanie-bo-feenie then the entire world’s military would show up on your doorstep and knock you into the last century.
Today, it seems that the U.N. is losing its teeth or whatever teeth (or tooth) remaining are so decayed and neglected — that it is rootless.
Example: Da-ish (in Arabic) or ISIS/ISIL (to the rest of us). It is not a religious sect. Ask any Muslim in the Washington Metro area and they will affirm that Da-ish (ISIS) is nothing more than a bunch of horribly deranged ne’er-do-wells who have blasphemed their faith or abused its tenants to attain riches and power. They have cleverly and sadistically melded rape, murder, sodomy, slavery, kidnapping, blackmail, and destruction of antiquities into a corrupt religiosity that hides its desire to annihilate the rest of the world and its institutions. Da-ish has absolutely no moral, religious, ethical, nor legal justification for their tactics, therefore, in my humble opinion, they must be severely dealt with by a multi-national force of member nations from the U.N.
If you think I am being too harsh on the U.N. or I am completely missing the intent or value of diplomacy, the U.N. Charter itself has a couple of interesting articles dealing with bad apples and what to do if they won’t play ball. Check this out:
“…the Security Council…may take such action…as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security…by forces of Members of the United Nations.”
And another ‘golden oldie’ to consider:
“The Members of the United Nations shall join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the measures decided upon by the Security Council.”
Seventy years ago in September 1945, the entire world unified against a common enemy after diplomacy failed to secure peace. It wasn’t pretty, it cost billions in human treasure and bled our financial institutions, and took almost a decade to bring to a conclusion. It’s time again for the whole world to unite and bring ISIS/ISIL to its knees. Many countries where ISIS plays would probably welcome an occupation force just to give the local constabulary a breather from all the excitement.
It’s time the U.N. stepped up to bat, lived by its principles, and took action – mean, big, tough, and THOROUGH military action by ALL ITS MEMBERS — to add meaning to their ideologies and to ensure peace and stability in the world.
After all, it’s their job. It’s what we pay them to do.
Marcus Fisk is a retired Navy Captain, Naval Academy graduate, sometime actor, sculptor, pick-up soccer player, playwright. He and his wife Pamela are former residents of Alexandria and currently live in Connecticut where the own a B&B.