Peacekeepers in armored personnel carriers, facing enemy sniper attacks as they lumber through rugged dirt paths in the eastern Ituri region, are returning fire. Attack helicopters swoop down over the trees in search of tribal fighters. And peacekeepers are surrounding villages in militia strongholds and searching hut by hut for guns.This thing has been going on for almost six years, steadily growing larger and more out-of-control. When, one wonders, will the Times finally call it a quagmire?
...The operation in Congo began as a modest observer mission in 1999. It has mushroomed, now commanding 16,500 soldiers but is still regarded as understaffed by United Nations officials in New York.
...As they root out the insurgents who prey on Ituri's population, United Nations soldiers in the east have at their disposal tanks, armored personnel carriers, Mi-25 attack helicopters, mortars and rocket-propelled grenade launchers all of which are getting heavy use.
My prediction: Never, unless U.S. troops begin taking part.