Mon, 11 Sep 2000

The Timor killings

The savage murders of three UN refugee agency staffers in West Timor came as more than 150 heads of state and government assembled in New York for a UN Millennium Summit meant to strengthen to organization's peacekeeping capability.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed outrage to Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. In turn, Mr. Wahid said he was mourning for the slaughtered UN refugee workers.

This and other atrocities could not have happened if the Indonesian military did not allow them to happen. Indeed, there is suspicion among relief workers and UN personnel that the special forces known as Kopassus and the Indonesian army were the hidden organizers of what appears to be a highly orchestrated effort to drive the UN staffers from the refugee camps.

Since Mr. Wahid lacks true control of the Indonesian military, he is the wrong person to hector, and UN bureaucrats are the wrong people to be demanding an end to the terrorism of the militias. Indonesian army officers are the responsible parties, and U.S. military officials who trained many of them are the ones to demand a halt to the bloodletting.

Kofi Annan can hardly impose his will on the Indonesian officers behind the killings. The U.S. Army can and should.

-- The Boston Globe, USA