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No help for Darfur

The other day, I brought up the subject of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and linked to an earlier piece where I said that, as horrendous as the situation is, I didn't see a damned thing we could do about it. I asked -- nay, begged -- for folks to prove me wrong.

Many of you did take up the challenge, but I am loath to admit that I remain unconvinced.

Several cited some great, compelling moral arguments. I respect them, accept them, and even agree with most of them. But that's as far as I can go.

It's often said that amateurs study battles, historians study strategy and tactics, but generals study logistics. Despite my own standing as barely qualified as amateur, I try to follow that cold, pragmatic advice. And despite your and my best efforts, I remain unswayed. I simply don't see the United States gaining the cooperation of Rwanda's neighbors we'd need to intervene, nor do I see the American people suddenly finding it a grave matter of national concern.

The one suggestion that might have a little merit is the arming of the victims. It's relatively cheap, easy, and potentially has a great deal of "bang for the buck" (if you'll pardon the pun). But I see great problems in that approach.

Some would cite the example of Afghanistan as a model. That doesn't work. In Afghanistan, we had the advantage of a somewhat trained and disciplined local force (the Northern Alliance) that also happened to be the UN-sanctioned "official" government of Afghanistan that we could assist. Thanks to their presence, we managed to keep the number of US forces actually sent in on the ground to a minimum.

In Rwanda, there is no native force to assist. Simply dumping massive quantities of weapons into the area would be a recipe for disaster. And I'm not talking about some five-star restaurant dessert recipe, I'm talking something right out of Chapter One of Senseless, Massive Carnage For Dummies.

So we'd need to send in advisors and trainers with the weapons to make sure that the would-be victims knew how to defend themselves. As much as I hate to admit it, that's pretty much how we got started in Viet Nam -- and we all know how well THAT turned out.

One commenter said this might be a great opportunity for Pakistan to step forward, offer its own intervention, and take its place on the world stage. Not a bad idea, but I think that the folks of Pakistan might be a bit too busy with their own concerns about rising Islamism to take on this kind of a burden.

The one idea that struck me as worth further investigation would be a US-hired and trained mercenary corps. ed suggested we recruit Gurkhas, and I think that has some potential. I've called before for an American Foreign Legion, which would give would-be immigrants who want US citizenship a "fast-track" through service; perhaps those two ideas could be combined. The expenditures would be minimal, and the benefits tremendous -- just imagine the effect on the American populace with an infusion of new citizens with that level of commitment and investment in our nation even before they can take the oath of citizenship.

But those are all long-term solutions, and little more than pie in the sky. I hate to say it, but I just don't see any way the United States can end the slaughter.

I find myself rebelling against my agnostic beliefs and hoping there is a God, so that the perpetrators of this massive crime against humanity will face justice in the next life -- because it looks like they won't in this life any time soon.

Comments (14)

Jay:Is this about ... (Below threshold)


Is this about Rwanda or Darfur? You start off talking about Darfur, but then switch to Rwanda.

Anyhow, I can understand your reluctance to commit US forces to stop the genocide in Darfur. I still think it's misguided.

The reason that Vietnam turned out as it did was that the US withdrew all its support of the South Vietnamese govt in 1975, and the place went to hell shortly thereafter. One could point to the way that the US/UN came to the assistance of the South Koreans in 1950 and have held the line ever since. There are some battles worth fighting, even if the logistics are difficult.

Stopping the carnage and genocide in Sudan is one.

Did anyone talk about split... (Below threshold)

Did anyone talk about splitting the country into three parts? everone says this is bad, but they never were eager to be joined anyway. History kinda just made them.

J Tea, I strongly disagree.... (Below threshold)

J Tea, I strongly disagree. setting aside the moral and humanitarian aspect of this there a cold, cynical reason for the US to intervene. Muslims in general and Arabs in particular have to made to understand that there is a limit to how much provocation we will tolerate. Arming and training the Christians and the black Muslims being persecuted by the Arabs in the Sudan will be a wake up call to both the Arabs and the Muslims. Arming Christians and other ethnic groups in areas where Arabs and Muslims are in conflict with others will result in the rollback of Arab and Muslim expansionism. The Mo-Rons need to be made aware the door swings both ways. We can do this using CIA and special forces. The only Vietnam lesson is shoot the home front traitors and fight to win, not for a draw.

One Jew gets tortured to de... (Below threshold)

One Jew gets tortured to death in Europe and the whole world is aghast. 100,000 Christians are murdered for their faith every year and no one says boo. The only friend Christians have are other Christians. This is a lesson that has not been learned in America.

Speaking of Vietnam, suppos... (Below threshold)

Speaking of Vietnam, suppose Johnson in March 68 after he gave his speech about not running again and while the Tet Offensive was winding down, a huge military disaster for the VC/NVA, he order the Army to follow the enemy back across the DMZ to Hanoi the war could have been over by the end of summer 1968.
Mao already having been burnt by Stalin in Korea and with the upheavals in China caused by his lunatic Cultural Revolution, was in position to offer serious military resistance to the US. Johnson could have forced the enemy back to the outskirts of Hanoi and the cut a deal with China leaving a rump barrier state as a buffer for China, no Lao or Khmer Rouge and no killing fields. Damm the left in this country.

RA:The world's media... (Below threshold)

The world's media has a blind spot. It's called Africa.

And for the record, this Jew has been quite outspoken about the carnage and genocide in Darfur.

Jay,Before you leave... (Below threshold)

Before you leave on your guilt trip, consider this: Is the U.S. the only civilized country on this planet?

It is high time for a lot of the other countries in the world to start pulling their own weight in the international community.

Hmmm.To be complet... (Below threshold)


To be completely honest I'm uncertain whether or not a Ghurka mercenary force, or a Foreign Legion, would really accomplish all that much in Darfur. What we're really discussing is a fundamental structural problem in Darfur. A structural problem that also exists in Nigeria and a number of other African countries.

Specifically these countries are divided between large christian and muslim groups that are primed to warring against each other. Part of that problem has been a withdrawing of Western influence leading muslim forces to believe they have a free hand in these areas, and who have conducted themselves accordingly. Another part of the problem is that the christian populations have decided that enough is enough and are striking back.

Short of putting enough soldiers to enforce multiple DMZ zones throughout Africa, there's nothing any sizeable group of soldiers could do. In the past a punitive expedition would be undertaken that would result in the mass slaughter of whatever group that was causing all the trouble. That's no longer acceptable, at the moment, so any short or long term answers are not going to be forthcoming.

Pretty much the only answer that would work, and that wouldn't end up biting us in the future, would be to organize, arm and train local christian groups to fight against any and all comers. Even inserting a substantial number of Ghurkas would be a stop-gap measure in this regard. Yet for a country, particularly America, to engage in this sort of training and arming would result in serious international and domestic issues. No doubt there would be a call for equal training and arming of muslim groups, but the example of the Taliban would overhang all of that. So I don't expect America to be involved in any substantial or official way.

All things considered I fully expect this situation to resolve itself within the next 3-4 years with the final result being the arming of the most respectable christian groups. If there's one thing that christian groups are very good at it's organizing and fund-raising. Couple this with a substantial number of devout christians in the US military with significant combat and training experience in Iraq and I think you can see where I'm going.

Only last week an African bishop in Nigeria pretty much laid down the law and read the Nigerian muslims the Riot Act. Even now Nigerian christians are starting to fight back against muslim aggression so we should see that conflagration expand soon. Additionally I think quite a few christians are becoming less and less prone to accepting such situations. There is a certain element of "muscularity" entering into modern American christianity that can be seen in current political and social maneuvering.

It's a fairly short step from there to expanding operations world-wide. I figure there will be a nexus between christian fund-raising and missionary efforts, repulsing muslim aggression in Africa, availability of highly qualified and combat experienced ex-US military trainers and a certain rising disenchantment with passivity in the christian right. Adding to this is the very real effects of the Cartoon War which has largely ripped the facade from modern Islam and it's relationship with Western values and modern Christianity.

Christians get fed up, raise money, hire trainers, ship weapons in via third parties and the fight in Darfur and Nigera, amongst other nations in Africa, is ON. The net effect is that Africa becomes the new proxy battleground a la Cold War. But not between nations or even ideologies but rather religions.

But this is largely speculation and should be consider just my 2 shekels. And all things considered I'd really rather be wrong on this.

The one idea that ... (Below threshold)
The one idea that struck me as worth further investigation would be a US-hired and trained mercenary corps.

We could even call them The Roughriders! Maybe we can reanimate Teddy Roosevelt's body to lead the charge.

Seriously, though, it is a good idea, but I don't believe you could get the American public, much less Congress, to sanction this even though we do have historical precedent.

Hmmm.We c... (Below threshold)


We could even call them The Roughriders!

I'm actually in favor of calling them the Dorsai.


I'm all for plain old extor... (Below threshold)

I'm all for plain old extortion at this point. Knock it off now - or else. Tell the Sudanese government - get the Janjaweed to stand down and stop supporting them or else. (Yeah, we know, you don't control them - figure it out).

Put a carrier in the Arabian Sea (assuming there is not one already there).

Enforce a no-fly zone. Take out the entire Sudanese AF at the first provocation. Any sign of AA, take out their ground forces as well.

Or else is to bomb the hell out of Janjaweed where ever they can be found in groups, and any other militia found to be causing problems.

1 carrier could put this down in a few weeks without ever putting boots on the ground.

I have to say... isn't this... (Below threshold)

I have to say... isn't this one of the things that the media is *for*? To investigate and inform and make sure that people know about important stuff... if Dafur was big in the news it would be big in the minds of people in the US.

Paul,You said... (Below threshold)


You said

"In Rwanda, there is no native force to assist. Simply dumping massive quantities of weapons into the area would be a recipe for disaster. And I'm not talking about some five-star restaurant dessert recipe, I'm talking something right out of Chapter One of Senseless, Massive Carnage For Dummies."

There was a senseless, Massive Carnage for Dummies in Rwanda. It was called 800,000 massacred by roving gangs armed with Machetes. Simple repeating rifles would have stopped most of those machete armed gangs at a safe distance.

As it was the lack of arms made the job easy if somewhat tiring for those committing the genocide. After all swinging that machete against unarmed people all day and running after all of the victims that tried to run or hide had to be a lot of work.

Dave Kopel has some interesting articles on National review online on the subject of genocide and self defense you might find interesting. A google search for dave kopel genocide timor will bring them up.



Jay Tea,First of a... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jay Tea,

First of all, Darfur is in Sudan, not Rwanda. So you spend this entire post talking about Rwanda instead of Sudan, where the conflcit actually exists.

So, for a simple geography lesson, I suggest heading over to the CIA World Fact Book, where you can actually figure out where Sudan is located. You will notice that Rwanda is a little to the south.

...nor do I see the American people suddenly finding it a grave matter of national concern.

I find it really depressing that the deaths of thousands of people in Africa is of no concern to the American people. This is the case for Sudan now, as it was for Rwanda about 10 years ago when 500,000-800,000 people were killed.

In Rwanda, there is no native force to assist. Simply dumping massive quantities of weapons into the area would be a recipe for disaster.

Again, assuming that you mean Sudan. What do you mean there is no "native" force to assist? This is a conflict between rebel groups and the government assisted Janjaweed. Have you read anything about whats going on in Sudan? The US just put forward the idea, in February, to send UN Peacekeepers there, to join the African Union Peacekeeping troops that are already there. So there are forces in place that can be assisted.

But those are all long-term solutions, and little more than pie in the sky. I hate to say it, but I just don't see any way the United States can end the slaughter.

Maybe we just have to get those UN Peacekeepers in there, which, by the way, probably would not include US troops. I dont think the responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the United States to fix everything by any means; but I do think that we should support action and intervention.

The leader of Sudan doesnt want UN intervention. Not surprising, since he is probably backing the Janjaweed militia.

My end point is that I think that something can be done to end this conflict, and I think that the US can play an important role. That doesnt mean that I think the US has to solve the entire problem. I think that its most important that we dont IGNORE it, like we did in Rwanda.






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