The Road Of Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions, A Proverb Essay

844 Words Feb 26th, 2015 4 Pages
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, a proverb that dates to c.1150, certainly comes to mind when one examines Rwanda’s 1994 civil war as told by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire in his work Shake Hands with the Devil. Dallaire, the Canadian general that led the United Nations (UN) effort on the ground in Rwanda, leaves that country in the end feeling like he failed the Rwandan people. There are many reasons Dallaire, the UN and Western countries in general failed to prevent genocidal killings in Rwanda. Perhaps Dallaire was not the right leader to send into Rwanda and the UN should have looked for an African to lead the mission and perhaps someone with more political and peacekeeping experience. A fact Dallaire admits himself early in his book. Trained as an artillery officer, Dallaire was unfamiliar with Rwandan politics and was not knowledgeable in UN peacekeeping operations. Dallaire had no practical experience in Africa and was sent there with too few troops that were both inadequately equipped and poorly motivated. Troop preparedness and levels aside, Dallaire landed in Rwanda without a clear mandate from the UN Security Council and should have pressed harder for UN management to provide clear guidance.
If looking to place blame or perhaps identify failure in leadership, then certainly one should look at those in charge of the UN at the time. Demonstrating a clear lack of moral courage, the leaders in the UN failed on several fronts. Maintaining peace and…

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