Hitchens on Sudan:

If we're quoting the great writers of the age, here is Hitchens on Darfur:

Any critique of realism has to begin with a sober assessment of the horrors of peace. Everybody now wishes, or at least says they wish, that we had not made ourselves complicit spectators in Rwanda. But what if it had been decided to take action? Only one member state of the U.N. Security Council would have had the capacity to act with speed to deploy pre-emptive force (and that would have been very necessary, given the weight of the French state, and the French veto, on the side of the genocidaires). It is a certainty that at some stage, American troops would have had to open fire on the "Hutu Power" mobs and militias, actually killing people and very probably getting killed in return. Body bags would have been involved. It is not an absolute certainty that all detained members of those militias would have been treated with unfailing tenderness. It is probable that some of the military contractors would have overcharged, and that some locals would have engaged in profiteering and even in tribal politics. It is impossible that any child of any member of the Clinton administration would have been an enlisted soldier. But we never had to suffer any of these wrenching experiences, so that we can continue to wish, in some parallel Utopian universe, that we had done something instead of nothing.

Or not exactly nothing. The United States ended up supporting the French military intervention in Rwanda, which was mounted in an attempt not to remove the genocidaires but to save them. Nonintervention does not mean that nothing happens. It means that something else happens. Our policy in Darfur has not just failed to rescue a stricken black African population: It has actually assisted the Sudanese Islamists in completing their policy of racist murder. Thank heaven that we are tough enough to bear the shame of this, and strong enough to forgive ourselves.
Well? The Left will say that it is Bush's fault, for being too busy in Iraq to stop the genocide. But how did they do at the same test? No better.

Amid new calls for a new realism, this ought to be sufficient rebuke. What is needed is not more realism, but more idealism; not more negotiation, but a readier hand on the sword. We cannot solve the world's problems, but we can disrupt janjaweed militias easily enough. Bombs are good enough for buying time, so that rebel forces can form to resist the genocide, so that the military of corrupt third-world states cannot aid their proxies. We can ship arms to the oppressed. At least we can make a fight out of it, even if we can't win it for them.

But this which we can do, we have not done. Instead, we allow the UN to continue to ban arms shipments to the oppressed within war zones; and our reliance on their negotiations and 'peace processes' cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Are we strong enough to forgive ourselves, as Hitches says we are?

No comments: