Speaker: Romeo Dallaire, Ret. Lieutenant-General UNAMIR


JAMES TRAUB (New York Times): Of the people who you may feel, really were in some way, culpable for failing to act—whether it's Boutros-Ghali, or Kofi Annan, or senior American officials—I'm wondering if there have been times when you personally have actually sat down with them and gotten a sense of whether or not they were fully penetrated by this, at all, in the sense that you were?

ROMÉO DALLAIRE: Well, I was able to feel that with the bad guys, because I testified in the international tribunal, and would have loved to put a few more in jail, but—

JAMES TRAUB: They were only penetrated by the recognition that they were about to go to jail.

ROMÉO DALLAIRE: Yes, and going to jail in the countries that don't really have the best of conditions. That side.

The other side is that it was only last spring that the Holocaust Museum in Washington, and The Hague Institute for Global Justice got together and had a meeting in The Hague, where 54 of the players who were there in Rwanda at the time actually met, from Iqbal Riza through to the ambassadors who were sitting on the Security Council, to ambassadors in the field; military; the politicos back in our country, who were part of the administrations; the journalists who were on the ground and around. It's the first time that actually, in an open forum, we brought it home.

I've never been able to meet President Clinton. No matter what he's written in his book, I think that one day, I think it's important that he tell me—as many members of the administration have said—that they, yes, they, undermined the mission. They didn't want to get back in there. They had Somalia and Mogadishu and Black Hawk Down. The last thing, militarily and politically, they wanted to do was get in there.

JAMES TRAUB: Samantha Power's book makes that utterly clear.

ROMÉO DALLAIRE: Yes, but they never even tried to.

I hold Boutros-Ghali in high contempt of emasculating the Secretariat, from being able to give the Security Council what it needed to—

JAMES TRAUB: He's never taken any responsibility for this, that I know of. Kofi, to some extent, has. Boutros-Ghali has not.

ROMÉO DALLAIRE: Yes, and Kofi has written in his book too. But I've never met Boutros-Ghali. Ever, even when I was in command. So there's been a number of them. I contend that as much the ones who tried to undermine the mission, to those who really didn't get engaged, to those who even indirectly aided and abetted the civil war-cum-genocide, most of them never have attempted to bring that argument forward and face some of us who were on the ground.

I think that in itself is a sign that they either are trying to avoid it, or they're trying to rewrite history—as we've seen a few, and been held accountable for that, thank god. I still wait for the day to meet President Clinton. We don't need a long conversation, just a short one. It would go a long way in assuaging my personal guilt of failure of command in the field, because the mission ultimately failed.

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