Editor, Daily Nexus,
The recent criticism of the United Nations by Henry Sarria ( Daily Nexus, Jan. 24, “U.S.’s Treatment of Taliban Doesn’t Warrant Criticism”) is an excellent opinion column. It is expressive and emotionally persuasive. Its only flaw is the complete lack of factual reference.
It was irresponsible of Mr. Sarria to either neglect to conduct research or deliberately suppress his findings. The U.N. wasn’t sitting on its thumbs during the Taliban’s rule. Their criticism of the human rights violations – of both the Taliban and the rebel factions – is recorded as far back as the BBC has kept internet archives of its articles. The U.N. brought attention to the plight of women in Afghanistan as well as the rampant drug trade there at least as early as 1998. More recently, they prevented four million Afghan refugees who were displaced by the war efforts of the U.S. from dying of starvation. Had the U.N. not been active at this time, the war against the Taliban would have been a far greater tragedy than the massacre on Sept. 11.
And if that’s not enough to convince you that the United Nations is not an evil organization, I should remind you that Kofi Annan, the U.N.’s Secretary General, received the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize in honor of the humanitarian work of the U.N. Their current beef with the U.S. is more reasonable than Henry would lead you to believe. Our government refuses to give the Taliban and al-Queda soldiers Prisoner of War status, thus denying them the rights that POWs are entitled to, but simultaneously neglects to place any criminal charges upon them. These people are being held captive with no prospect of a trial, and that is what the U.N. objects to.
Demonize them as you may, Taliban soldiers are not all fanatics or terrorists. Once a person is coerced into fighting, he cannot easily change his mind. You can’t just quit the military – even our government kills people for desertion. The U.N. is right; these people deserve to be tried.