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October 07, 2006

Real action on Darfur

The term genocide does not seem to have the power to provoke our leaders to action, or even to rhetoric, the way terrorism does.

So here are some more descriptive terms for what’s happening in the Sudan: mass murder, rape of the most brutal kind, starvation and disease.

The African Union peacekeepers in Sudan will leave soon, and they will be replaced — eventually — by shamefully underfunded U.N. forces.

Congress and President Bush need to take the lead and make sure that these troops — not American troops — have our full support as well as the support of every nation that wants to do business with us.

Sen. Sam Brownback has been a powerful force on this issue. Our entire government must now put the pressure on the Sudanese government and keep it on. That means that the voters need to keep the pressure on our elected officials. Four-hundred thousand murders is enough.

Adam Groden
Overland Park

Comments

GCYL

“there are people who are actively pushing for our governments intervention in Darfur. I am one of them. There just arent enough.” – openmind

Correct. We’re no where near the critical mass to make a true difference with our leaders. So all we’re going to get is typical politics that goes something like:

“At the same time my point is that our government is proclaiming to act on those ideals. This is where the transference of guilt occurs. If they were not claiming to act on these ideals, there would be no such transfer of guilt.” – openmind

Why are you surprised that all of our political parties are acting this way? There can be no transferal of guilt to politicians who are pandering to the very few who care. They will act just as much as we care. The guilt stays with us because we don’t care. Some of us question the ideals of fighting genocide in Iraq.

“Its wishful thinking (for both parties), but I would like for our government to act consistently on its professed ideals. If they do not, then it calls into question their actual adherence to those ideals.”

Where have you been openmind? We here in the middle of the road clearly understand that outside of getting re-elected, politicians seldom act consistently on professed ideals. Their ideals change with the largest voting block. What our county has sadly lacked is a history of having a critical mass of citizens who would react to genocide and act consistently but voting out ANY political party that did not take direct action. What political parties do or don’t do is just an extension of the people. That guilt stays with us.


GCYL

“If I felt that we really did go into Iraq with the sole intent of stopping genocide, I would be in full support of it (I also think that we would have gone in with a different game plan). I am not trying to rationalize not going into Iraq.” - openmind

But you’ve just rationalized it again. Either there was genocide in Iraq or not. Either genocide is a valid reason for direct military intervention or not. It’s not contingent on being a sole intent. You once again have given us a list of “better” places to fight genocide and yet you can’t give another example of where WMD’s were used in the effort of genocide. Some would argue that no matter the deaths involved, the use of WMD’s during genocide would put that monster at the top of your list.

“Rather, what I am trying to point out is that I do not think we went into Iraq for the sole purpose of either stopping crimes against humanity or stopping the spread of WMDs.”

I never made that claim. I do not believe that the legitimate claim of genocide is viewed as a sufficient reason for military intervention by a large part of our society. It never was no matter the location.

openmind

GCYL,
there are people who are actively pushing for our governments intervention in Darfur. I am one of them. There just arent enough.

At the same time my point is that our government is proclaiming to act on those ideals. This is where the transference of guilt occurs. If they were not claiming to act on these ideals, there would be no such transfer of guilt. If they were not claiming to act on those ideals then I would not be so critical of their non-action in the Darfur situation. At that point the guilt would lie more squarely on our shoulders to push for our involvement (although it lies pretty squarley there now). Its wishful thinking (for both parties), but I would like for our government to act consistently on its professed ideals. If they do not, then it calls into question their actual adherence to those ideals.

openmind

As it is we now have such a long history of not caring that we get caught up with the “Why start now?” mind set.

GCYL,
You seem to think that I am arguing for the “Why start now” mindset. I am not. If I felt that we really did go into Iraq with the sole intent of stopping genocide, I would be in full support of it (I also think that we would have gone in with a different game plan). I am not trying to rationalize not going into Iraq. Rather, what I am trying to point out is that I do not think we went into Iraq for the sole purpose of either stopping crimes against humanity or stopping the spread of WMDs. I think that if that were the case, we would have gone to either of the countries I mentioned first, or would at least be moving to go there now, as they pose larger threats to both ideals. There were larger threats to both ideals at the time of the Iraq invasion than Iraq. What I am trying to suggest is that there was a third (or fourth and fifth) reason for going to Iraq which we are not being told. It is the only way to explain what sets Iraq apart.

If firefighters choose to put out a comparatively small fire, which will result in fewer deaths, instead of putting out a large fire which will cause more deaths, there must be another factor in the firefighter’s decision making process than simply saving lives. There may indeed be cases where this is called for, but I think an explanation is owed nonetheless

You’ve just rationalized that saving people over here holds less importance or meaning than saving people over there.

Again not true. I am rationalizing saving the most people possible.

My position is that humanity, the collective us, do not care. In prior posts I’ve called it lacking the critical mass of people who care.

Unfortunately, history has proven this statement all too true.

GCYL

“If these ideals were indeed universal and were also a cause of the invasion, I believe that our administration would have acted upon the more egregious and pressing violations of those ideals such as Darfur and NK.” - openmind

You miss my point. If genocide were a valid reason for direct military intervention then WE would insist that our administration do something with Darfur and NK. Just as in tomw’s case I can not accept your guilt transferal to our administration for no action. It’s our responsibility to make them take action. But “we’re” not going to do that. That would imply that failure by each seceding administration to address genocide would be voted out of office. Why do I get the feeling that if the Democratic Party obtained majority status and failed to take direct action with Darfur and NK all we would get is more rationalization?

GCYL

“Again, are you speaking to me or to liberals?” – openmind

Neither. My position is that humanity, the collective us, do not care. In prior posts I’ve called it lacking the critical mass of people who care. If this country had a history of caring then all of our various administrations would have taken action to stop genocide. As it is we now have such a long history of not caring that we get caught up with the “Why start now?” mind set.

“or that there are people in general who are opposed to military action regardless of the circumstances.”

They are termed extreme isolationist. We have them and I do not assign an ideology to them. There are others who seriously question the use of our military for nearly any reason other than if someone went all out, direct, unconditionally declared war and attacked us first. It is interesting to note that currently the right believes that such acts have occurred while the left views such conditions as lacking. I’m not saying which side is right or wrong, it just points out that as a society we’ve never had the ability to get a critical mass of people who would care enough about genocide to warrant an administration to take decisive action.

GCYL

“Also, are you suggesting that I am trying to rationalize to avoid using genocide as a valid reason, or that there are people in general who do that?” – openmind

No, I’m saying that you did just that just like many of us do.

“If preventing Genocide/Liberation was our goal, Darfur and several other nations in Africa should be much higher up on our list. While the things that Saddam did were terrible, currently there are many more dictators and governments which are more of a threat to their people than the Iraqi government was to its people.” - openmind

In the above rationalization there is now some kind of list of genocide that should be addressed and failure to abide by this list of “priorities” will negate any efforts to end genocide at a country or location that is found lower on the list. You’ve just rationalized that saving people over here holds less importance or meaning than saving people over there.

There is no list of “priorities” when confronting genocide just a list of failures. You either accept that genocide is a valid reason for military intervention for all locations or you end up rationalizing to avoid locations.

openmind

“Your post serves as another example of our rationalization to avoid using genocide as a valid reason for military intervention. Outside of Iraq, please give me another example of a dictator who used WMD’s on his own population.”

When did this occur? And we responded when? If it was such a big deal, why not go at the time? Also, are you suggesting that I am trying to rationalize to avoid using genocide as a valid reason, or that there are people in general who do that?

As far as my list, if you are going to invade a country, you need to do it when the actual atrocities are being done, not 10 years later. The situation in Iraq at the time of invasion was not significantly different from the humanitarian situation in several other dictatorships, including NK. The situation in Darfur is currently going on, and, in my opinion, going in will save many more lives than going into Iraq.


“People seem to think that liberals are opposed to military action regardless of the circumstances.” – openmind

“Your post substantiates that, indeed, there are people who feel this way.”

Again, are you speaking to me or to liberals? I am not sure if you are referring to the fact that people think liberals feel a certain way, or that there are people in general who are opposed to military action regardless of the circumstances. I am going assume the latter and continue on. You took my comments on people’s perceptions of liberals and go on to state that there are indeed people who are opposed to military actions for any reason. From your argument it appears that you feel that these individuals are the only ones responsible for our not using military action to prevent genocide.

While it may be true that they would be against such an action, I do not exactly see all of those who support the use of the military jumping up and down for our involvement in these situations. The fact is that pacifists are not the only group of people preventing (or at least not advocating for) our involvement in these situations. These roadblocks reside on both sides of the aisle.


“For some reason there are people who opposed military action regardless of the circumstances.”

I agree, and for some reason there are also those who are in favor of military action only when they themselves will see some tangible benefit from said action. It is my stance that the individuals who chose to invade Iraq had already made up their mind on the issue (for whatever reason) and grasped at the nearest straws to find justification to move forward.

It is also my stance that the invasion did not derive from any of the tangible and universal ideal,, such as preventing the development and sale of WMDs or the prevention of crimes against humanity. Rather the profession of and adherence to said ideals were a consequence and not a cause of the invasion.

If these ideals were indeed universal and were also a cause of the invasion, I believe that our administration would have acted upon the more egregious and pressing violations of those ideals such as Darfur and NK.

GCYL

“People seem to think that liberals are opposed to military action regardless of the circumstances.” – openmind

Your post substantiates that, indeed, there are people who feel this way.

“If preventing Genocide/Liberation was our goal, Darfur and several other nations in Africa should be much higher up on our list. While the things that Saddam did were terrible, currently there are many more dictators and governments which are more of a threat to their people than the Iraqi government was to its people.”

Your post serves as another example of our rationalization to avoid using genocide as a valid reason for military intervention. Outside of Iraq, please give me another example of a dictator who used WMD’s on his own population.

So what was the magical number of dead people in Darfur that put it higher on your “If we were inclined to do something about genocide” list than Iraq? I’d like to believe that we all believe that humanity should not have stood still while 400,000 people in Darfur died or a dictator used chemical weapons on his own citizens. But we don’t. For some reason there are people who opposed military action regardless of the circumstances.

openmind

People seem to think that liberals are opposed to military action regardless of the circumstances. I have never disagreed with the reasoning behind Afghanistan, and I think that our going there was something that needed to be done. I am simply against the faulty reasoning with which we went to Iraq.

If WMDs were the reason we went there, I would think North Korea should be much further up on our list (I said this before we even went to Iraq, I am not trying to jump on the bandwagon). I lived in Seoul for awhile, and have a decent knowledge of the situation there. NK was and is much more of a threat to develop WMDs and use/sell them than Iraq was. The whole WMD thing is the only hope the NK economy has.

If preventing Genocide/Liberation was our goal, Darfur and several other nations in Africa should be much higher up on our list. While the things that Saddam did were terrible, currently there are many more dictators and governments which are more of a threat to their people than the Iraqi government was to its people.

Both the government of NK and the government of Sudan have about the same level of involvement in 9/11 as Iraq, so can someone please explain why we chose to go to Iraq instead of these regions

Engineer

T. Hanson
Actually there is oil in Sudan, China wants it and has an in wih the current government. That's why they are keeping the UN from any effective action.

Engineer

renfro
As we seem to be the only Nation, with limited exceptions, that has done anything about genocide or oppression, it would seem that we have much better reasons to distrust the motives and resolve of most of the rest of the world than they do to distrust ours.

GCYL

“Those we have tried to aid are left behind to suffer greater abuse or worse! The world has reason to distrust our motives and resolve!” - renfro

It’s not a problem based on one ideology or political party. European nations gave a blind eye to cruelty and genocide in Africa as long as the dirty stuff stayed hidden in the countryside and didn’t harm their citizens. As soon as it harmed their citizens they intervened long enough to get them out and then they let the “internal issues” continue. Humanity’s indifference to genocide can be summed up as this: we don’t care. We as in the critical mass of people who should care. Thus "we" as in all political parties and governments don't care either.

GCYL

“I suggest that we spread a rumor that there is one acre of oil in Dufar. That should get us over there very quickly” - T. Hanson

Oil isn’t the magic bullet T.Hanson and you know it. If it were then preventing genocide in Iraq would have been the major point for military intervention. As proven by the left here in this blog, many people do not feel that genocide is a sufficient reason for military intervention in Iraq. The answer will come when critical mass of people, humanity, start caring. No matter where natural resources may be found.

T. Hanson

I suggest that we spread a rumor that there is one acre of oil in Dufar. That should get us over there very quickly

renfro

So we should now defend the downtrodden mistreated peoples of Darfur who are victimized by their own government or fellow countryman? Remember Somalia --- how about Iraq?
We have developed a culture that decries injustice and demands our involvement in world politics and problems only to “cut and Run" when the first body bag arrives or a personal or financial sacrifice becomes necessary. Those we have tried to aid are left behind to suffer greater abuse or worse! The world has reason to distrust our motives and resolve!

Engineer

The principal reason for the creation of the United Nations was that it would handle happenings of this nature. Obviously, it is an abject failure and seems both unable and unwilling to take action in cases such as this. In this case, it seems many are calling for us to take unilateral action against a legally constituted state without UN sanction. Or for us to force (bully) the UN into authorizing a unilateral action by our forces. In this case a major power, China, opposes any action and, in effect, is emasculating the UN. Perhaps it is time to leave this ineffective organization and seek the establishment of a more effective one for accomplishing its major mission.

katman

We should not turn our backs on Darfur, as we did 65 years ago on the Jews during the Holocaust. History has hard evidence that FDR and the New York Times were both well aware of what was happening.

KATMAN

GCYL

“Four-hundred thousand murders is enough.”- Adam Groden

But not enough for Adam to support the use of American troops.

If there were a critical mass of concerned citizens in this country that cared about genocide then any administration that was currently leading our country would take significant action. We’ve never had a history of caring enough to prevent genocide. Just a history of letters that points out our lack of caring and conditional reponses after 400,000 deaths.

 
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