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Monday, May 31, 2004

More on the Sudan

Tacitus writes an overview of the conflict and gives a solution:

But as I said, the solution is pathetically simple: the United States and Chad can and should facilitate an invasion of Darfur. Is this madness in the face of ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Hardly. The test cases -- the Afghan campaign of fall 2001, and countless French interventions in the region over the past half-century -- have already been fought and won. This is an altogether simpler case: while the geographic area is truly huge, the terrain is easier, and the determination of combatants -- black Africans versus Arabs -- is as clear-cut as could be. The manpower -- legions of angry, organized, determined Fur -- is present. The infrastructure, in the form of US-Chadian military cooperation, is in place. (As an unrelated aside, the reactions to that cooperation here are instructive.) The allies -- every state, group, and militia ever brutalized or alienated by Khartoum (among whom we can count not just Chad, but Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea, and of course the SPLA) -- only lack a unifying force. What remains is, on our part, a comparatively light burden of commitment: supplies and the airlift to get them there; tactical air power we can easily spare; Special Forces teams for communications and coordination; and forcible rhetoric from Washington, DC. It would truly be a war in the service of humanity: politically, just what is needed to demonstrate core American ideals, and a stark differentiation between our willingness to venture abroad in the service of freedom, and the desire of the wider world to ignore the most egregious of horrors. Pragmatically, it is an engagement we could afford and win (especially against the medieval janjaweed throwbacks) in comparatively short order. No need for an occupation of Khartoum, nor even an aggressive push for regime change there: it would be enough to secure the de facto independence of Darfur, and its establishment as a sort of Sahelian Kurdistan.
I don't know if this solution would work or if it is as simple as he makes it sound, but it is something that is worth looking into. At the minimum our government needs to speak out strongly and condemn this. And we as citizens should pressure our government to do so. If my previous posts havn't helped convince you that something needs to be done read this.
My local translator stops, no longer willing to delve into her story. "She is only 13," he says, and walks away. Tentatively, she continues talking to me in Arabic: "They tied me to a tree and raped me all night. I became very ill and fell down. They thought I died, so they left me."


Blogger Aric said...

On October 3, 1993, a combined force of Delta commandos and U.S. Army Rangers entered the city of Mogadishu, Somalia to detain several lieutenants of Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

Delta Force and the U.S. Rangers were present in Somalia to assist the U.N. mission there. They had been sent by President Clinton due to an enormous amount of pressure that resulted from a series of graphic photos of starving Somali children. Their mission was to capture Aidid.

In the end, 18 Americans were killed and 73 wounded. Images of dead American corpses being drug through the streets by cheering Somali citizens were played on the evening news, and reprinted in newspapers all over the world. The political backlash against President Clinton was horrendous.

Ever since then, the American penchant for getting involved in peacekeeping operations, unilateral or otherwise, has been extremely low. In 1994 and 95, the U.S. declined to get involved in Rwanda, where over 800,000 people were eventually killed. Just a few months ago, U.S. representatives to the U.N. vetoed a resolution which would have kept U.N. peacekeepers (including U.S. ones) in Bosnia for another year.

The United States above all other nations has the power to intervene anywhere, anytime, for any reason. I would love nothing more than to see a bunch of muderous Sudanese thugs come across some U.S. Marines and try and pull the "kill, rape, loot" shit in front of them. I doubt it will happen though, and the world may be a sadder place for it.

5/31/2004 10:18:00 PM  

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