Bummed out about Abu Ghraib and all that jazz? Well, buddy, have I ever got an idea for you! Let's get the UN to run Iraq! They'll do a great job! It'll be awesome!
A book by three current and former U.N. employees about peacekeeping operations portrays wild parties with alcohol and drugs, and convicts and mental-asylum inmates passing as soldiers.
In another section, the authors say the "peacekeeping troops" sent to Cambodia by Bulgaria were not really soldiers.
They write that the Bulgarian government, starved for hard currency, actually cut a deal with inmates, offering them pardons if they accepted the U.N. assignment. Bulgaria, in turn, received financial compensation from the United Nations for its troops.
"The Bulgarians wanted the money, but didn't want to send their best-trained troops. So ... they offered inmates in the prisons and psychiatric wards a deal: Put on a uniform and go to Cambodia for six months, you're free on return," the book says.
Scores of criminals accepted the offer, were given uniforms and became U.N. peacekeepers, the authors say.
Mr. Cain describes the Bulgarians as "a battalion of criminal lunatics [who] arrive in a lawless land. They're drunk as sailors, rape vulnerable Cambodian women and crash their U.N. Land Cruisers with remarkable frequency."
Without going into the merits of the accusations in the book, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard conceded that the United Nations does not have a system to "verify" the credentials of troops offered for peacekeeping.
"When it comes to formed military units, we rely on the donor country to give us professional soldiers. ... There is not a quality-control test, and units vary in the degree of their training from country to country, even from unit to unit," he said.
Wait. Wait a second. Did I say 'awesome'? I meant 'horrible.'