I am as outraged as the next American about the genocide in Darfur. Both the Khartoum government and its henchmen Arab janjawid militias are conducting a systematic, village-by-village destruction of civilian African blacks and non-Muslims.
Nothing since the Rwanda mass murdering highlights more the amoral UN’s impotence than the failure of that world body to act in the Sudan, even as it introduces more legislation to damn democratic Israel and is held hostage by veto threats from oil-hungry China. A multilateral UN force of 30,000 to 40,000 could easily supplement pan-African troops and bring some respite to the area.
After reading recent ads in our nation’s major newspapers calling on President Bush to act, and hearing cries of anguish from concerned humanitarians, I am also sure that a single aircraft carrier could enforce a no-fly zone over the country, while a brigade of American troops could shatter the poorly-led and poorly-trained bullies who are killing the innocent.
Why We Will Probably Stay Out
BUT, and it is a big BUT, I am also just as equally convinced that George Bush would be attacked the minute he put a soldier on the ground by the very humanitarians who are calling him to now act on the implicit premise that since there are no American economic or security interests in Darfur, we therefore should intervene. If Americans were on the ground, then Dr. Zawhri would announce a new jihad, hoping to draw in the normal suicide crowd to knock off some Americans as they fed and rebuilt. And that subsequent bloodletting, not the good we did, would be reason enough for a new outbreak of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
With Americans dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the United States being ankle-bitten by the Europeans to close Guantanamo (but not send any of its detainees back to their countries of origin in Europe), and crises escalating with North Korea and Iran, we are busy enough. Again, far more importantly, we all suspect of the Sudan that should Americans get ambushed, should a plane go down and its pilot be beheaded on Sudanese television, should a bomb go wide and kill some civilians on CNN, both the world at large, and the American Left in particular, would be the first to turn on the United States for not being perfect when we were still doing a great deal of good.
So if there is any American intervention, it will have to wait for a Democratic President, who then, Bill Clinton/Kosovo-style, can bomb Khartoum from 30,000 feet for a few weeks to force the Islamists to desist, assured that either his leftist credentials or the absence of American casualties would quiet opposition.
We are developing in America a new reactionary aversion to force, that may soon surprise the UN, the Europeans, and our own left anti-war crowd that clamors for humanism in our foreign policy, even to the point of using arms to stop evil. But given the invective against our efforts first in Afghanistan, and then—and especially—in Iraq, such critics have almost destroyed entirely neo-conservative muscular support for democratic reformers.
That is, by caricaturing the American idealistic effort in Iraq as ‘no blood for oil’ when petroleum prices skyrocketed after our removal of Saddam, and other assorted slurs, the opposition on the left, along with the failure to stabilize Iraq, helped to bring back the old Scowcroft/Baker realpolitik, and, soon to follow, the “more rubble, less trouble” school of diplomacy.
Nowhere is that more clear than in the return of James Baker (“jobs, jobs, jobs” / “F— the Jews”) last seen on the slopes of Kurdistan promising help for all the slaughtered Kurds and Shiites who took us at our word to “rise up” when we kept back from Baghdad in 1991, and allowed Saddam to retain much of his airpower after his defeat, in hopes we would not offend the Sunni Gulf states, and a defanged Saddam would provide a “stabilizing” role in the region and a “balance” to Iran. Now he advocates talking to Syria as in the good old days that worked so well, and, of course, as before thinks Israeli intrangence causes terrorism—thus its decline after they left Gaza and Lebanon.
A Note on The Kennedy School of Government—Professional and Courteous
Last Thursday I debated Lawrence Korb on “Iraq: Accomplish Mission or Withdraw”, taking the position that we must keep some troops there until a stabilized Iraq government can handle its own security needs. My adversary Dr. Korb, the moderator Gen. Ted Oelstrom, the Kennedy School, and the several hundred students in attendance were as polite and professional as could be, and it turned out to be the most hospitable and enjoyable group imaginable. And that says a lot now in this era of political hysteria.