The following is a report by Oxfam, which you can say what you want about, it's information is relatively reliable. I'd say you're both a little off base. It's true that a military officer can't simply disobey UN resolutions and start shooting, except to defend their own soldiers. Nobody faults Dallaire for this, at the same time it certainly can't be said that 'they did a good job' since they had no authority or equipment to do anything. That's like sending somebody to clean your house in ten minutes with no cleaning supplies and then defending them saying that they 'stood around well' or 'would have done a good job if we'd given them help'. Again, that's not Dallaire's fault.
It is, however, partly Canada's fault, our american friend is not the first to point out that we've been slacking in the peacekeeping department. Also, keep in mind that Canada was joining in the pigswill of arming the offending party in the first place.
The following points quite clear blame at the US, and you can't run the world without expecting to be blamed for shortcomings. This was during Bosnia and americans had just been killed in Somalia so there was good likelihood that the same could happen in Rwanda, hence the reluctance to call it genocide which would have forced intervention. Places like Argentina were naming it such, but nowhere else, including Canada.
In many cases Canada follows the US lead on voting against resolutions, and votes against them if canadian corporations are involved, such as in Indonesia or China, so this quite clearly was not just the fault of america. Many books written since have identified the inherent racism of the united nations, which gives little power to Africa or South America. Canada and the US are offshoots of that colonial past and the failures in Africa can be quite definitively linked to the corporate orgies robbing the continent of its resources, and those corporations represent canadian as well as american interests. So while the US does not get off scott free, certainly Canada doesn't either. Here's the piece:
What role did foreign powers play in supporting those who committed the genocide?
Foreign powers supported and armed the Rwandan government before the genocide. The former South African apartheid government supplied arms worth $5.9 million. France, a supporter of the Habyarimana regime, helped it buy arms worth $6 million. These arms were supplied in 1992 when evidence of human rights abuses by the Rwandan government was already in the public domain and France was an observer at the Arusha peace talks. The shipments included automatic rifles, mortars, long-range artillery, shoulder-fired rocket launchers, munitions, landmines and plastic explosives. French support for Habyarimana’s government dated back to the 1970s. France sent hundreds of military advisors and soldiers to help the government try to repel the RPF invasion. The United States also supplied arms to the Rwandan government. In 1993, US military sales to Rwanda were estimated to be worth US$600,000.
How did the international community fail to prevent the genocide?
The Rwanda genocide is one of the most shameful recent failures of the world’s governments to protect innocent civilians. General Romeo Dallaire, head of the ill-fated UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda spoke of the “inexcusable apathy by the sovereign states that made up the UN that is completely beyond comprehension and moral acceptability.” Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity attacked a “lack of sufficient concern for African tragic situations.” Oxfam condemned the “supine inactivity” of the United States and European governments saying their inaction amounted to “a callous ignoring of genocide which, morally and legally, every government has a duty to prevent.”
Following the Arusha peace deal signed in August 1993, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali sent a team to Rwanda to decide what kind of peacekeeping force would be needed there. It recommended at least 5000 troops. It was not until 5th October 1993 that Resolution 872 was passed establishing UNAMIR, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, under the command of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. The UN Security Council was preoccupied at the time with crises in Bosnia and Somalia and the Rwanda resolution came just two days after 18 American soldiers were killed in Somalia. With this in mind, the US recommended a force of just 500 men for Rwanda. The Security Council eventually compromised and authorized around 2,500 men. Their six-month mandate was to oversee the peace process but not to enforce peace or protect civilians.
From the start, the UNAMIR force was hampered by delays, shortages of equipment and suitable personnel. It became increasingly clear that the Arusha accords were not being implemented and that political violence against human rights activists and opposition members was rising alarmingly. Prominent politicians were assassinated and it became public knowledge that Hutu militias had extensive death lists targeting Tutsis and moderate Hutus. All of this was known to the UN Security Council and yet, with UNAMIR’s mandate coming up for renewal in April 1994, its members still tried to scale back their commitments. General Dallaire attacked “international indifference” to Rwanda.
When the genocide started on April 6th, ten Belgian peacekeepers were captured, tortured and murdered by militias for trying to protect the moderate Hutu Prime Minister. This prompted Belgium to announce the withdrawal of all its peacekeepers. Dallaire requested replacements for the Belgians, but none were forthcoming, and, with the exception of Ghana, governments with troops in Rwanda ordered them to protect themselves but not civilians. A week later, 1,500 well trained troops from France, Italy and Belgium flew into Rwanda to evacuate foreign nationals. Dallaire’s men were left with inadequate equipment and ammunition and rotten survival rations. To Dallaire, journalists and human rights organizations it became clear that what was unfolding was genocide. But world leaders were slow to name it thus – to do so would oblige them to intervene to prevent it under the Genocide Convention of 1948.
But there was no appetite for intervention. On 21st April, the UN Security Council voted to cut the UNAMIR force to just 270 personnel. The United States took the lead in pushing for this decision. Under Resolution 912, UNAMIR was given a new mandate which was restricted to mediation and humanitarian aid. In practice, 444 UN troops stayed on in Kigali. The reduced force managed to protect the 15,000 Rwandan sheltering in the UN compound in Kigali, but its reduction sent a clear signal to those committing genocide that the world was not going to intervene.
Repeated attempts by Boutros-Ghali and members of the Security Council to request reinforcements for UNAMIR were blocked by Madeleine Albright the United States’ representative who refused to describe what was happening in Rwanda as “genocide”, saying only that “acts of genocide” may have taken place, an important legal distinction. Boutros-Ghali later wrote: “The behavior of the Security Council was shocking; it meekly followed the United States’ lead in denying the reality of the genocide.”
On 16th May – almost six weeks after the massacres began – the Security Council voted through Resolution 918 which authorized the enlargement of UNAMIR. But at US insistence the Secretary-General was authorized to deploy only one infantry battalion of 800 men. A group of African countries offered to send an intervention force but lacked the necessary equipment and logistical support to mount a speedy operation. Having refused to send their own troops, Security Council members failed to send the means by which African troops could be sent. Their response - the US offer to loan 50 armored vehicles, and the UK offer to supply 50 trucks, was totally inadequate. Boutros-Ghali asked the US to jam the inflammatory broadcasts of Radio Milles Collines which broadcast hate propaganda from the capital, Kigali, and spurred on those committing the genocide across the country. He was told it would be too expensive.
As the massacres spread through the country, General Dallaire wrote that he and his few men were “standing knee deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking in to the eyes of children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies”.
The Security Council, he said, “floundered in the face of mounting heaps of bodies growing daily… As long as these states procrastinated, bickered and cynically pursued their own selfish foreign policies, the UN and UNAMIR could do little to stop the killing”.
Finally, in early July, the French intervened. Given the history of French support for the former government of Rwanda, the motivation behind this intervention generated suspicion. The French “Operation Turquoise” involved 2,500 troops setting up a “safe zone” in southwest Rwanda. They were given a mandate (under Chapter VII of the UN Charter) to enforce peace, unlike Dallaire’s UNAMIR force stuck in Kigali. Whatever its original motivations, it is estimated that Operation Turquoise may have saved up to 15,000 Tutsis at the end of the genocide.