Thursday, November 10, 2005

Don't Forget Darfur

Slate has a concise but powerful post on the situation in Darfur. You should read the post, but there are some points it brings up that I want to reiterate.

It seems like there has been less talk on Darfur over the past few months. I think one of the reasons that the situation has lost urgency is because the government has nearly completed their task of reclaiming the land in western Sudan from the non-Arabs – after killing an estimated 400,000 and displacing close to 2 million Sudanese. And while our current administration talks big about unilateral action, in the face of genocide we chose multilateral negotiations – which gave the government more time to finish its task. And make no mistake, the government was involved even though the janjaweed has been doing much of the killing. In fact, I think one of the best quotes from the post is the following description of the janjaweed; “The actual killers and cleansers, the Arab janjaweed militias, are a 'deniable' arm of the Sudanese authorities.” Fortunately there appears to be proof of government helicopters aiding the militias, so that in the future everyone will know who was involved – and once again we can say, “never again”.

Make sure to read the full post because it also does a good job of assessing the realism of getting involved by looking back on what the costs might have been if we had intervened in Rwanda. The truth seems to be that we will always wish we had gotten involved, but we never actually want to get involved.

Update: It looks like some US diplomats are really getting tired of officials from the Sudanese government. If only Zoellick was there with the US military to do something more than just shout.