Monday, October 04, 2004

The difference between Iraq and Darfur

Theodore Gatchel wrote a good column in yesterday's Sunday ProJo asking what the difference is between Darfur and Iraq. First, in Darfur,
Bands of marauding Arabs called Janjaweed have been systematically terrorizing the black population of Darfur by raiding their villages, killing the men and boys, raping the women, and stealing the livestock. Many observers assert that the Janjaweed are carrying out their attacks with the support of the Sudanese government, a charge that the government denies. As a result of these attacks, an estimated 50,000 people have been killed and more than a million displaced from their homes.

Although the United Nations has been quick to condemn the atrocities, it has been slow to take meaningful action. Only the United States has been willing to label the actions of the Janjaweed as genocide. The rest of the world has been content to appoint commissions to study the problem and to debate what to call the atrocities.

At the same time, critics of U.S. policy suggest that the United States should intervene militarily in Sudan -- unilaterally if necessary -- to stop the killing. As far back as June 18, a New York Times editorial called for "strong action" and stated, "Washington can act on its own and with more enlightened partners such as the European Union."

The British magazine The Economist took an even stronger position. A July 31 piece entitled "Sudan Can't Wait" discussed the reasons that some nations might oppose the use of force in Sudan, but argued that if those nations vetoed such a proposal in the U.N. Security Council, "A coalition of the willing should go ahead, regardless."

He then spelled out the situation in Iraq and correctly asked why there was no similar outrage agains Saddam. The result is an obvious case of hypocrisy, something that Ron Silver, the actor, speaks about quite often. John Kerry is one of the hypocrites:
Few dispute that the regime of Saddam Hussein routinely committed rape, mutilation, other torture, and mass murder as a matter of policy. Foes of the Iraq war nevertheless argue that such a record did not justify armed intervention without the specific approval of the U.N. Security Council. On the campaign trail, for example, Sen. John Kerry recently said, "Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in Hell. But that was not -- that was not, in and of itself -- a reason to go to war."

In contrast to that position, Kerry criticized President Bush for sponsoring a "toothless" U.N. resolution on Sudan and urged him to take steps to "ensure the immediate deployment of an effective international force to disarm militia, protect civilians, and facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance in Darfur."

I suspect that people who agree with Kerry on Iraq but support the use of force in Darfur would argue that sending the military to Darfur for humanitarian purposes would not be considered "war." Unfortunately, however, such distinctions have little if any meaning today. The U.S. military went to Somalia with the United Nations' blessing to solve a humanitarian crisis, but nonetheless ended up in a shooting war with warlords' militias.
Actually this is not surprising. This is but one more example of how John Kerry is governed less by core values and more by political opportunism.

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