Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DARFUR....This is depressing. The Bush administration is floating a plan for intervention in Darfur that's so obviously inadequate it might as well be called "Operation We Don't Care":

The proposal...falls well short of more aggressive measures that some have advocated, such as sending ground combat troops or providing air patrols to protect peacekeepers and prevent the bombing of villages. These options have been ruled out as unnecessary at this time, an administration official said.

....Plans under consideration envision fewer than 500 NATO advisers. They would be assigned to African Union headquarters units and assist in logistics, communications, intelligence and command and control activities, not engage directly in field operations.

"Unnecessary at this time." How comforting.

Not that I really blame Bush for this. Sure, it would be nice to see some more aggressive leadership from the White House, but as near as I can tell it's going to be tough to get Europe to agree to even this much. There's simply no desire anywhere in the world to take the Darfur genocide seriously.

Kevin Drum 1:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (81)

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Comments

It's too bad Iraq dominates the agenda, and resources, and focus. We've sapped much good will and optimism for intervention in Iraq.

And now we're considering making it worse by attacking Iran. As much as I hate to say it, the people of Darfur are not going to get a big intervention, which should have come long ago.

Posted by: Jimm on April 10, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

I finally watched Hotel Rwanda a couple days ago. I couldn't get over the part when Nolte is explaining to Cheadle that the West doesn't care about them. It was heartbreaking and reminded me of our nonresponse in Darfur.

Posted by: gq on April 10, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

The US acting alone?

That would fail the Global Test

Posted by: mca on April 10, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect that Bill Clinton or Al Gore would have had the necessary credibility to spur Europe into joining the US to take action against this nonsense. There's also the important fact that they wouldn't have most of our troops tied up in Iraq, so we would have a lot more freedom to act if we wanted to, and without Iraq as a demonstration of US impotence, we would have a lot better chance of forcing the Sudanese killers to back down without actually having to invade. Of course, the Congressional Republicans would be angrily denouncing any such proposals, claiming that they constituted a distraction from whatever invented scandal they had come up with this week.

Posted by: Firebug on April 10, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

No wonder they think everything is going swimmingly in Iraq. The threshold for action appears to be somewhere north of 10,000 dead per month.

BTW, this past week marks the 12th aniversary of the assassination of Rwandan president Habyarimana. Over the next 100 days nearly a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed.

Posted by: B on April 10, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Can someone please discover some oil in Sudan?

Posted by: Space Shuttle on April 10, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Bill made a decision not to act in Sudan in his term and for many years.

Bosnia was driven by the EC not by the US.

Posted by: McA on April 10, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Offtopic: but is it legal for the US Military to target the US Home Audience in a propaganda campaign?

The US Government and the US military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq . The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawis role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the U.S. Home Audience as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Posted by: jerry on April 10, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Where is the international community? Where is Kofi? Where is Chirac? Where is Hugo Chavez? Castro?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 10, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Bosnia wouldn't have happened without the U.S. leadership and no one with credibility would deny that.

Clinton and others, notably, Sec. of Def. Perry, have stated that their biggest failure was not acting in Rwanda. At that point they didn't have the political will to tell a nation that experienced Somalia that they needed to act in Rwanda. Yeah, I think that was cowardice on their part and they deserve chastisement for it. But I'd bet that a President Gore wouldn't have been so cowardly. Of course, a President Gore would have Iran inching closer and closer to modernization (which was a plausible trajectory a few years ago) and Hussein would have been show to pose no threat and would probably have been extremely isolated and a laughing stalk by this point also.

Posted by: gq on April 10, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

SS, the oil is primarily in southern Sudan where the Bush administration brokered a peace deal last year. Oil in Darfur is mostly speculative, but recent discoveries (and lease block sales) make it a pretty exciting prospect for western companies. Actually numerous plays along the african rift system (Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania) are a hot topic in the industry. They are mostly lacustrine sourced oils in restricted and structurally complex basins.

Some industry leaders are actually lobbying for intervention in Darfur.

Posted by: toast on April 10, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Bill made a decision not to act in Sudan in his term and for many years.

Look! It tries to think again!

Posted by: ogmb on April 10, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

ogmb,
It needs to try a little harder. I can't tell if they really believe what they say or knowingly spew whatever it is that they spew...

Posted by: gq on April 10, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Was McA wearing diapers during the Clinton administration or is he just an idiot?

Posted by: toast on April 10, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Where is the international community? Where is Kofi? Where is Chirac? Where is Hugo Chavez? Castro?

Someone please get Kenneth an atlas.

Posted by: floopmeister on April 10, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

He forgot Waldo.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

...to say nothing of our incapacity to do anything meaningful in Darfur even if it were in America's interest to do so ;(

In that light, the genocide in Darfur is another casualty of this Administration's war of choice in Iraq. (If I were a presidential aide, though, or a lefty blog caricature of one, however, I'd just mention the good news that the tieup of our military in Iraq provides cover for what we rilllly donn't want to do anyway.)

A final note: Sequitirs are vastly overrated.

Posted by: MaryCh on April 10, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Can someone please discover some oil in Sudan?

Um, SS, if there is a strong suspicion that there is oil in Darfur, that will pretty much seal the fate of the blacks. Oil is always a lot more attractive without whatever indigenous people have been living on top of it (cf. Nigeria).

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

In that light, the genocide in Darfur is another casualty of this Administration's war of choice in Iraq.

I think this is overly generous, MaryCh. We seem to be perfectly capable of hitting 400 targets in Iran at some point in the near future, or so the Administration would have us (and the Iranians) believe. If we're doing nothing in Darfur, it's really because we don't care, not because we lack the capacity.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

He forgot Waldo.

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on April 10, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

The proposal, which still faces uncertain approval within NATO because of concerns that it could be a distraction from operations in Afghanistan... In general, U.S. officials said, their aim has been to address shortcomings in the African Union force without upstaging that force and stirring resentment in a region highly sensitive to the presence of Western troops.\

So:

  • Our current forces--even with allied support--are stretched. Check.
  • Owing to local sensibilities, we (or NATO) troops can't just walk in and take control. Check.
  • We need to beef up the AU until the UN can take a more substantive role. Check.
  • The AU, without Western support, is not up to the job. Check
  • The AU is reluctant to hand over control to NATO... umm... oh shit
Once upon a time I thought that the AU would welcome more NATO invovlement, even if that meant a diminished AU profile. Maybe the AU isn't as up to this as I thought...

And I agree, we can't really blame Bush for this, other than maybe fittering away resources in Iraq that might be brought to bear in Darfur. However, Europe can and should be taking the lead on this.

Posted by: has407 on April 10, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

And I agree, we can't really blame Bush for this, other than maybe fittering away resources in Iraq that might be brought to bear in Darfur. However, Europe can and should be taking the lead on this.

Have to agree with you.

Posted by: floopmeister on April 10, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

toast re:McA Both.

Posted by: opit on April 10, 2006 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

And I agree, we can't really blame Bush for this, other than maybe fittering away resources in Iraq that might be brought to bear in Darfur.

So we think that US diplomacy and pressure ought to be able to dissuade Iran from trying to get nukes, but are powerless to convince the African Union to allow NATO forces to take a more active role in preventing genocide in Darfur?

Nonsense. Bush isn't making Darfur a priority issue. Can we "blame" him? Absolutely, in the same sense in which we blame Clinton for an inadequate response to Bosnia and Rwanda. Bush has failed to prioritize the issue. In politics, priorities are EVERYTHING. It's not what you claim to support; it's how much you're doing to get it accomplished.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

And incidentally, a tiny deployment of Western troops can completely alter the situation in an African conflict. 2,000 French troops have been effectively keeping the peace in Ivory Coast, a nation of 17 million people, for the past three years. The deployment that ended the savagery in Sierra Leone was similar. The difference today, unfortunately, is that the global Western-vs.-Muslim context makes such a deployment in Darfur more difficult.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

Why should we take on the "White Mens Burdon" in Dafur?

Posted by: b on April 10, 2006 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

b:
The "White Man's Burden" (note spelling!) refers to efforts to civilize childlike peoples who are (or should be) under the control of colonial governments for their own good. OTOH, since Kipling was quite sympathetic to colonial subjects like the Indians with whom he grew up, the term might have been used sarcastically, as a warning to the U.S. against undertaking colonial rule in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War.

Since neither of these readings has anything at all to do with the situation in Darfur, one can only infer that you're arguing against applying to Darfur the Christian imperative to do good.

Is that it, or you just ignorant?

Posted by: keith on April 10, 2006 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

The thing is, I am with Bush, I am here to help, may very well be the last thing the Sudanese government should hear.... They have already created an Islamic resistance to the imperialists, if not in real life than at least in rhetoric. The Rhetoric being something like: "US = UN = 1. Afghanistan 2.Iraq 3.Sudan" (http://www.janpronk.nl/index162.html)

If they can point to white soldiers behaving even the slightest bit like they own the place then help/permission from the government in fighting the militias will be even harder to get.

(Jan Pronk, the UN guy in Sudan, has an informative blog BTW http://www.janpronk.nl/index120.html)

Posted by: ht on April 10, 2006 at 6:12 AM | PERMALINK

errr, that should have been "Kipling was quite sympathetic to colonial subjects like the Indians with whom he grew up..."

Posted by: keith on April 10, 2006 at 6:15 AM | PERMALINK

As a Canadian, I'm ashamed of my government's lack of action. We always talk a good fight about peacekeeping, and tut-tut America's unilateral interventions, yet we (and the Europeans) are not the least bit willing to spend the money to build up our militaries to the point where we can actually do something- when push comes to shove (as in Bosnia) we all sit back and wait for America to take the lead.

Posted by: MikeN on April 10, 2006 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

MikeN, That will be changing, but not overnight.The new Harper government plans to beef up the military.

But military capability is only half the problem. Popular support for military action is also required, and Canadian public opinion is getting skittish about our mission in Afghanistan.

And even if Canada had more military capacity and public support, we still couldn't act alone in a crisis half way around the world. Yes, the world should intervene in Darfur, but no country, except perhaps the US, can do it alone.

The countries that deserves the most criticism are the more powerful African countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt. Where are they?

Posted by: Joe Canuck on April 10, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Why not let Chad do what it wants to do anyway and declare war on Sudan? If they were given the support of the international community (and they would definately win French support at least), they could probably win a war. They sure showed the Libyans a thing or two back in the day.

If you don't let sovereign nations protect their own interests, you will always be in these kinds of situations. It has almost always been neighboring countries with something at stake who have stopped genocides. Think of Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, or Tanzania's actions in Uganda (or on a smaller scale Uganda's later support of the Tutsi army that eventually overthrew the genocidaires in Rwanda). It is ridiculous to assume that genocides can only be stopped by people who have no interest in the region. Typical simplistic moralism.

Posted by: kokblok on April 10, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Darfur is horrible, but it has a long way to go before it can compete with Congo. Anybody hearing an outcry for Congo?

Posted by: mroberts on April 10, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Genocide only matters when it is a cover for GOP political opportunism.

Genocide, for example, didn't matter when Saddam was gassing the Kurds and Bush 41 was funding his efforts.

Genocide, for example, didn't matter in Bosnia and Kosovo, when the GOP tried every tactic to derail intervention by Clinton.

Genocide, for example, didn't matter in Iraq for the first three years of the Bush 43 administration. True, there was no ongoing genocide, but since conservatives, albeit falsely, claim that there was, there was no excuse for Bush's failure to intervene.

Conservative tears over genocide have always been crocodile tears and they always will be.

The only lives conservatives care about are those not yet in existence and then only the white ones.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Firebug writes, I suspect that Bill Clinton or Al Gore would have had the necessary credibility to spur Europe into joining the US to take action against this nonsense.

Why would you think that? Neither of them gave two shits about Rwanda until after the genocide was over in that tragic land, so why would they care about Darfur? Neither of them have made any major public comment (that I've seen) about Darfur recently.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Wes Clark and John Prendergast have an Op Ed on this in the Boston Globe.....worth a read

http://tinyurl.com/pdyps

Posted by: trillian on April 10, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Bosnia was driven by the EC not by the US.

I gotta disagree. Europe was doing nothing and the US rode to the rescue. The US looked just great vs European political sleaze.

The US would get my (Canuck) support on Darfur. It should push the Europeans again to do something, something. At the least, it will look good and it will expose that godawful Islamic hypocrisy as well as European sleaze.

Posted by: Bob M on April 10, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Kokblok writes, Why not let Chad do what it wants to do anyway and declare war on Sudan? If they were given the support of the international community (and they would definately win French support at least), they could probably win a war.

The Chadians have their own problems. Their government is unstable, and the Chadians have many of the same tribal issues that Sudan has. It's not a lock at all that they could settle the Darfur situation, and going to war might destablize their own country significantly.

What could well work is something that most of you progressives will innately hate: teach the people of Darfur how to defend themselves, and give them the means to do it. That means a couple companies of Green Berets (that part of our Army that specializes in this sort of thing) with adequate cover and logistical support. Give the people of Darfur simple weapons, communications gear and ammo, and let them handle the Janjaweed. The latter, like most thugs, are basically cowards: thump them a few times and the smart ones will decide to do something different for a living. And that goes a long way to solving the problem.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God writes, Genocide, for example, didn't matter in Iraq for the first three years of the Bush 43 administration. True, there was no ongoing genocide, but since conservatives, albeit falsely, claim that there was, there was no excuse for Bush's failure to intervene.

There was a genocide in Iraq: how else do you describe what Saddam did? For all the fuss from the progressive left about civilian deaths in Iraq presently (talk about crocodile tears!), Saddam was killing 10 times that number of people. He started two pointless wars and got a million people (Iraqis, Iranians and Kuwaitis) killed in those.

And I hope you're not one of those folks who thinks that you can imitate John-Luc Picard when it comes to international politics: 'make it so.' If GWB had decided on day 1 of his term that Saddam had to go (regime change was, after all, the position of our government from 1998 on), it takes time to get the pieces in place. The earliest we could have gone was the fall of 2002, and GWB (to his credit) gave more time for diplomacy to work.

The only lives conservatives care about are those not yet in existence and then only the white ones.

I think that bigoted statement says a lot more about you than about conservatives.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Firebug
I suspect that Bill Clinton or Al Gore would have had the necessary credibility to spur Europe into joining the US to take action against this nonsense.

Lets see...who was President during those delightful Rwanda escapades, when the Sudanese learned they do go genocidal without fear of intervention from the west?

...and without Iraq as a demonstration of US impotence, we would have a lot better chance of forcing the Sudanese killers to back down without actually having to invade.

We don't need to invade. We just need to bomb them. And as for a demonstration of US impotence, we walked into Iraq and tossed Saddam out on his ass in 30-some days. The mess is in the post-war phase. We wouldn't need to do regime change in Sudan. Just regime killing. Let them sort out the post war stuff.

Of course, the Congressional Republicans would be angrily denouncing any such proposals, claiming that they constituted a distraction from whatever invented scandal they had come up with this week.

Where is the voice of the democrats on this? Can't say I've heard any real clamoring for intervention of any sort.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God
Genocide, for example, didn't matter in Iraq for the first three years of the Bush 43 administration. True, there was no ongoing genocide...

Oh, that was beautiful. A perfect synopsis of your rhetorical skills. Heh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Amazing.

Look, can't we just cut through the crap and stipulate that the only remotely consistent position the Left holds in foreign policy right now is that if Bush is doing it, it's the wrong thing?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Yeccch. Here come the trolls.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

We wouldn't need to do regime change in Sudan. Just regime killing. Let them sort out the post war stuff.

The Janjaweed are independent tribal militias operating with government connivance. You could execute the entire Sudanese central government, and the Janjaweed would continue to carry out genocide in Darfur. Your plan of bombing - whatever it is, exactly, that you plan to bomb, in a virtually preindustrial country like Sudan - is pointless. There are two ways to stop the Janjaweed from continuing their campaign of ethnic cleansing: 1. bring in an outside military force with the will and capacity to stop them, or 2. prevail upon the Sudanese government to stop them. Both options have their problems. "Bombing" and "regime killing" are recipes for INCREASING the genocide.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Could a bunch of volunteers do any good?

Abraham Lincoln Brigade style, or something?

Posted by: ferd on April 10, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

can't we just cut through the crap and stipulate that the only remotely consistent position the Left holds in foreign policy right now is that if Bush is doing it, it's the wrong thing?

No, but we could cut through the crap and stipulate that the only remotely consistent position the Bush administration holds in foreign policy is that whatever the wrong thing is in any situation, they do it.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Janjaweed are independent tribal militias operating with government connivance. You could execute the entire Sudanese central government, and the Janjaweed would continue to carry out genocide in Darfur.

Hmmm, that presumes minimal effect. The Sudanese could always march down with their forces and put the janjaweed down, i.e., stop looking the other way.

Your plan of bombing - whatever it is, exactly, that you plan to bomb, in a virtually preindustrial country like Sudan - is pointless.

If somehting were to be bombed, it would be the people at the top of the Sudanese government. Behead the government.

But that's not what I'm really advocating.I was just replying to someone who felt Iraq demonstrated impotence. I think Iraq demonstrated the ability for the US to destroy with impunity whatever it wants. Thugs beware. Building is a tougher thing, obviously.

There are two ways to stop the Janjaweed from continuing their campaign of ethnic cleansing: 1. bring in an outside military force with the will and capacity to stop them, or 2. prevail upon the Sudanese government to stop them. Both options have their problems. "Bombing" and "regime killing" are recipes for INCREASING the genocide.

Agree with approach. Disagree with your opinion on bombing. It's amazing what people will do when confronted with their impending mortality. Forward observers and UAVs coupled with a single squadron of fighter-bombers with some Laser or GPS guided bombs could put the almightly fear of Allah into the Janjaweed. I would love to be a targeteer in this one.

But we won't bomb or regime kill. We'll muddle along while people die by the thousands, Europe fiddling while Africa burns. It's how "the warped timber of humanity" works. It makes me sick, frankly.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

MikeN> We always talk a good fight about peacekeeping, and tut-tut America's unilateral interventions, yet we...are not the least bit willing to spend the money to build up our militaries to the point where we can actually do something...

We don't just talk. Canada's armed forces work on peacekeeping to the point of severe overstretch. And giving them the budget to match our expectations was (at long last) agreed to by most major political parties in the last election. I don't think Harper's minority government will have problems putting that part through parliament, tho there are question marks about the icebreakers etc.

Also, a military built up for peacekeeping and defense patrols such is a different thing from one built for smashing capital assets like that of the USA. The states is clearly at the end of its rope with its "peacekeeping" mess in Iraq. It's military is built to fight Europe, Russia, or China (all nominally friends now).

If this sort of thing is going to become part of the UN (or whatever's) mission, every country that steps up is going to have to budget differently for it.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 10, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

RSM>Europe fiddling while Africa burns. It's how "the warped timber of humanity" works...GPS guided bombs could put the almightly fear of Allah...

You're a fruitcake.

It just needs a couple of thousand peacekeepers, which is nothing. All it requires is a commitment to get involved, that those people are worth it, and that it is our problem.

The USA is just as limp-wristed here as the EU, et al. All of our governments are acting shamefully, conservative or liberal, every one of them. So we all need to shame them, as Kevin is doing, into acting. This is not a partisan issue, and it's missing the point to make it so.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 10, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

You're a fruitcake.

You're a dumbass.

It just needs a couple of thousand peacekeepers, which is nothing. All it requires is a commitment to get involved, that those people are worth it, and that it is our problem.

No shit, that's essentially what I'm saying. A minimal effort.

The USA is just as limp-wristed here as the EU, et al.

Yea, tell that to Milosovich and the Taliban and to Saddam Hussein. If not for us, they'd all still be doing their thing.

All of our governments are acting shamefully, conservative or liberal, every one of them. So we all need to shame them, as Kevin is doing, into acting. This is not a partisan issue, and it's missing the point to make it so.

I agree. Doesn't stop 99% of the posters here from trying.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White: There was a genocide in Iraq.

Between 2000 and 2003?

LOL.

But even if so, why did Bush wait three years to invade, allowing such alleged genocide to continue?

Why wasn't he shouting from the rooftops about the terrible genocide going on in Iraq during those three years?

Why weren't conservatives?

Because Bush and the GOP were too busy trying to get tax breaks for their campaign contributors?

Or because there really wasn't any genocide occurring?

No one said genocide never occurred in Iraq under Saddam - indeed, I specifically stated it did, with Bush 41's aid and assistance btw.

The issue was whether there was genocide during the period 2000-2003.

If you have evidence, then present it, but quit pointing to genocide during the 80's as proof of genocide during the 2000's.

It's the same bogus argument as pointing to evidence of WMDs in the early 90's as evidence of WMDs in 2003.

Doesn't wash and never will.

I think that bigoted statement says a lot more about you than about conservatives.

I'm not the one who values only "white" lives.

You are.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

>The USA is just as limp-wristed here as the EU, et al.
>Yea, tell that to...

I was talking about Darfur! Jeesh.

>Yea, tell that to Milosovich
Clinton intervened.

>and the Taliban
Trained and promoted in their early stages by the CIA, as part of the cold water.

>and to Saddam Hussein.

A thug preferred by the previous incarnation of neo-cons, who turned a blind eye while he murdered a whole generation of political activists. It wasn't a problem because they were, you know, liberals or leftists. The man is a product of shortsighted western (not entirely US) foreign policy of a bygone era.

>If not for us [most of them would have not existed]

International brinkmanship is a filthy game, which all nations and parties are guilty of. That shouldn't stop us from rising above it once in a while, however. If you actually care about this issue, you'll try to influence/shame your own side to do something, not a bunch of currently out of power liberals.

Heck, it might even be seen as a chance to heal some wounded egos vs both sides of the atlantic, over a common cause with little self-interest involved.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 10, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

...cold water / cold war, what's the difference...

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 10, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Yea, tell that to Milosovich and the Taliban and to Saddam Hussein. If not for us, they'd all still be doing their thing.

If not for Bush 41, the Taliban and Saddam wouldn't have been doing their thing at all.

It is a partisan issue: the GOP supported Saddam and the Taliban, the GOP supported Pinochet, the GOP supported Noriega, the GOP supported the Shah, and the GOP opposed intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Rwanda.

That Clinton didn't do something about every genocide going on doesn't change the fact he did something where the GOP not only failed to do anything, but both actively opposed and furthered ongoing genocide.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Forward observers and UAVs coupled with a single squadron of fighter-bombers with some Laser or GPS guided bombs could put the almightly fear of Allah into the Janjaweed.

Yeah, that's worked really well in Iraq with the insurgents.

Worked exceptionally with the North Vietnamese also.

And the Iranians and North Koreans are as intimidated as hell by Bush's bravado and warmongering.

Conservative refrain: if we only show a little force and will, people will stop fighting us and welcome us with praise and flowers and dancing in the streets!

Really!

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Psyche's Principle of Foreign Policy:

Point a big gun at them and they will run away and peace will reign!

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

You write, " Not that I really blame Bush for this. Sure, it would be nice to see some more aggressive leadership from the White House, but as near as I can tell it's going to be tough to get Europe to agree to even this much."

Well, the lack of European interest in attacking Iraq didn't slow the War President down, so it seems to me that this is a direct reflection of his priorities: War, S;Genocide, Who Cares?

Posted by: Topey Schwarzenbach on April 10, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe -- I'll rephrase: I can't really blame Bush. I opined some time ago on another thread that I thought the AU, with European support, was the proper approach to stabilizing Darfur, as the AU looked like it was getting its act together. Looks like I was wrong.

Posted by: has407 on April 10, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

>Yea, tell that to Milosovich
Clinton intervened.

I thought you said a minute a go that we should leave partisan politics out of it? Follow your own advice, please.

The US of A intervened. Europe sat on its ass while on their own continent genocide occurred.

A thug preferred by the previous incarnation of neo-cons, who turned a blind eye while he murdered a whole generation of political activists. It wasn't a problem because they were, you know, liberals or leftists. The man is a product of shortsighted western (not entirely US) foreign policy of a bygone era.

Boy, so much for nonpartisanship on this topic. Did you even read what you wrote? I'll repeat it for you...

This is not a partisan issue, and it's missing the point to make it so.

So what's your point? That we should continue to bolster evil-doers like Saddam because at one point in the great moral calculus it made sense to tolerate him more than his neighbor? Or should we straight-away kill these guys, in which case you should be asking why it took us so long to fix our earlier error.

Saddam is a moral actor who can be held accountable for his own actions, as opposed to your attributing everything he did to the west (poor Sadddam, not evil...just misunderstood...a victim of circumstance).

If you actually care about this issue, you'll try to influence/shame your own side to do something, not a bunch of currently out of power liberals.

I actually care about this issue. I make my voice heard in those circles. Your mistake is to think this is the only forum I post to or the only political interaction I take part in.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

AFG
Red State Mike: Forward observers and UAVs coupled with a single squadron of fighter-bombers with some Laser or GPS guided bombs could put the almightly fear of Allah into the Janjaweed.

Yeah, that's worked really well in Iraq with the insurgents.

It does. Kill's em dead over and over and over. Taliban too.

Worked exceptionally with the North Vietnamese also.

Another opportunity to show off your monumental stupidity. No laser guided bombs or GPS or UAVs in North Vietnam, and they had TREES and JUNGLE there anyway. Idiot.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe writes, There are two ways to stop the Janjaweed from continuing their campaign of ethnic cleansing: 1. bring in an outside military force with the will and capacity to stop them, or 2. prevail upon the Sudanese government to stop them. Both options have their problems.

How about option 3: give the people of Darfur the means to defend themselves?

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God writes, If not for Bush 41, the Taliban and Saddam wouldn't have been doing their thing at all.

That's about as dumb as saying that if not for Bill Clinton, the Taliban and Saddam wouldn't have been doing their thing. Bill had eight years to do something about both situations, and he didn't.

I don't blame him: no one wanted to do anything about either situation then. That was the whole problem.

As to Bush 41, you need to read a little history and find out why he didn't march to Baghdad in early 1991: because our Arab 'allies' (Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia) all threatened to pull out of the coalition if he did so. The Syrians went so far as to threaten to switch sides. And the UN made it clear, in its resolutions, that 'regime change' in Baghdad was NOT on the agenda then.

I realize that these facts don't fit in your world vision, which is a shame.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck writes, >and to Saddam Hussein.

A thug preferred by the previous incarnation of neo-cons, who turned a blind eye while he murdered a whole generation of political activists. It wasn't a problem because they were, you know, liberals or leftists. The man is a product of shortsighted western (not entirely US) foreign policy of a bygone era.

That's a rather, er, liberal use of the retrospectroscope.

Saddam was preferred by the Soviet Union/Russia, as they were his biggest and most faithful arms supplier (gentle reminder: who made the tanks the Iraqis had?). The Chinese, Yugoslavs and Czechs similarly did business and made money. The French, Germans and Belgians had arms and oil deals with the man.

The US, in contrast, had an arms embargo on the man from the mid 1980s on, and pretty much held him at arms length. The 'aid' we provided during the Iran-Iraq war was some intel data, and there's reports that at least some of that data was phonied-up. [I note that Canada had even less to do with the man than we did in that time, which is to your country's credit.]

So let's not go off the deep-end with charges about neo-con conspiracies. Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton all understood that the man was a thug, and all tried various strategies to 'contain' the man. Bush 43 is the one who recognized that 'containment' was a failure.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White: That's about as dumb as saying that if not for Bill Clinton, the Taliban and Saddam wouldn't have been doing their thing. Bill had eight years to do something about both situations, and he didn't.

Hey, asshole, Clinton didn't fund the Taliban or Saddam - Bush 41 did.

What about that don't you understand, moron?

Are the words not small enough?

Do you not understand the difference between the concepts of aid-and-abet versus failure-to-render-aid?

Are you really that stupid?

Well, we know the answer to the last one is yes.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Tyke: It does. Kill's em dead over and over and over. Taliban too.

And generates more terrorists than are killed.

Good plan.

I guess that's why the insurgency is no longer . . . oh, wait, that's not right.

Nevermind.

I forgot I was dealing with a real idiot.

You seem to forget your own claim, btw, that merely pointing the gun at the enemy would make them tremble and vanish, rather than actually having to kill them all!

Typical of conservatives, you pretend to have said something other than what you did say so you can defend your own monumental stupidity.

Thank God Bush's incompetence doesn't sink to your level or all hope, rather than most hope, would be lost.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Tyke: That we should continue to bolster evil-doers like Saddam because at one point in the great moral calculus it made sense to tolerate him more than his neighbor?

We weren't "bolstering" Saddam.

Yet another deliberate misuse of a word to a situation (lie) to create a strawman to tear down.

Not trying to get rid of Saddam, even if that were true and it wasn't, is not "bolstering" Saddam.

Now, giving Saddam financial aid and international political support, as Bush 41 did, was "bolstering" Saddam.

Clearly, however, you are too stupid to understand the meaning of "bolster" so I'm sure this will all fall on deaf eyes.

Furthermore, you implied claim that giving financial aid and international support (verbal statements of support to the world community) was Bush 41 "tolerating" Saddam while Clinton's actions of encouraging internal dissent and opposition was "bolstering" him is laughable.

If anything, it was just the opposite, with Clinton "tolerating" Saddam (he didn't, but those facts just don't fit into the mendacious story you've concocted) and Bush 41 (and Reagan) actively supporting him.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White: The US, in contrast, had an arms embargo on the man from the mid 1980s on, and pretty much held him at arms length.

Holding Saddam "at arms length" (even though we continued to send him financial aid through the late 80's under Bush 41) was Clinton's alleged ignoring of Saddam (he didn't - he took action against Saddam, bombings and no-fly zones, and never sent him any financial aid or gave him international credence, but hey don't let the facts get in your way), makes Clinton equally responsible.

And liberals are the partisan ones!

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think I have mentioned it before- but part of the problem of intevening in Darfur is that it is a logistical nightmare. The US was able to wage an air campaign in Kosovo because we have bases in Italy. Where are the bases in Africa that are within range of Darfur? It is roughly 600 miles to the east to Red Sea and 900 miles south from the Med (over Libya). To supply the several thousand "peacekeepers" would take an airlift that is beyond even the US Airforce. Overland would make the convoys from Kuwait to Iraq look like a Sunday drive. Not all things are possible, however desirable.

Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech on April 10, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Hahahahahaha!

I'm Advocate for God! I love to hear myself rant! RantRantRantRantRantRantRantRantRantRantRant!

I hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate BushI hate Bush!

Can't say it enough!

Barry Bonds? Bush fault.
My hemoroids? Bush fault.
I hate Bush because I love him. I want to have his baby through manlove. Oh why does he not call me? I drive in front of his house, but people points guns at me and break into my head and place evil thoughts.

Maybe Frist not busy this weekend.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Tassled: It is roughly 600 miles to the east to Red Sea and 900 miles south from the Med (over Libya).

Perhaps Bush and Rice could use their extraordinary foreign policy skills to obtain operations centers in Kenya or Egypt . . .

ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

I made a funny!

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White--
Who says "liberals" are opposed to letting the Darfur folks fight for themselves? I would have no problem with arming them. Of course, we're not going to be the ones that do the arming. It'll be the Chadians, who will finally get tired of Janjaweed raids across their border.

They will arm the refugees and train them to fight alongside the Chad military, who are no slouches themselves. Chad may not be a great place to live, but it has a pretty competent army. France would definately aid them if push came to shove with Sudan. Once the whole thing is seen as a cross-border aggression (which it already is in reality) it won't be hard for the UN to authorize Chad and the Sudanese refugees (who are supposed to already have some kind of miltary wing, if I remember correctly) to take defensive measures.

Posted by: kokblok on April 10, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm Advocate for God! I love to hear myself rant!

I'm Steve White! Nothing is Bush's fault! Absolutely nothing! Bush has never lied about anything! Bush 41 never gave Saddam a dime! Clinton funded Saddam and gave him international support! Telling the truth about Bush 41 and 43 is "ranting"! I read it in the New Dictionary of Convenient Conservative Misdefinitions! Bush Infatuation Syndrome is not a disease! I can quite fawning over Bush anytime I want! I don't have a problem! No amount of criticism of Bush is tolerable and any criticism is Bush-hatred without any basis in fact!

I'm Red State Mike! Nothing is Bush's fault! Absolutely nothing! Bush has never lied about anything! Bush 41 never gave Saddam a dime! Clinton funded Saddam and gave him international support! Telling the truth about Bush 41 and 43 is "ranting"! I read it in the New Dictionary of Convenient Conservative Misdefinitions! Bush Infatuation Syndrome is not a disease! I can quite fawning over Bush anytime I want! I don't have a problem! No amount of criticism of Bush is tolerable and any criticism is Bush-hatred without any basis in fact!

-------------

Snooze.


Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God writes in response to me: Hey, asshole, Clinton didn't fund the Taliban or Saddam - Bush 41 did.

Bush 41 didn't fund Saddam -- we had agricultural export credits that Saddam used, as did a lot of other nations. Try fighting agricultural export credits in the mid-1980s.

Bush 41 didn't fund the Taliban -- the 'Taliban' wasn't a viable organization until Bush 41 had already left office. They came about after the Soviets had been pushed out of Afghanistan, and the Soviet backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan fell in 1992. After that there was a murderous civil war, and the Taliban rose to power in 1997. That was during President Clinton's terms, in case the dates aren't clear to you. You can check out the Wikipedia entry for this; they provide a quick history lesson.

It helps to have your facts straight.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kokblok writes, Who says "liberals" are opposed to letting the Darfur folks fight for themselves? I would have no problem with arming them. Of course, we're not going to be the ones that do the arming. It'll be the Chadians, who will finally get tired of Janjaweed raids across their border.

I'm glad to hear that one liberal, at least, recognizes the power of self-defense.

I don't think the Chadians will do this. Some of the tribes in Darfur are allied with tribes in Chad that are unhappy with the central government, and I don't think the central gov't will give guns to people who might turn around and use them against the gov't.

I also don't think the French will aid the people of Darfur -- they, like the Chinese, are much more interested in the oil (of course), and see the central government as the best way to get at that oil.

So I think it has to be us, though I think it would be better if NATO took this on.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Tassled writes, I think I have mentioned it before- but part of the problem of intevening in Darfur is that it is a logistical nightmare. ... It is roughly 600 miles to the east to Red Sea and 900 miles south from the Med (over Libya). To supply the several thousand "peacekeepers" would take an airlift that is beyond even the US Airforce.

Logistics are the major issue. To make this work we (or NATO, or the UN) would need the cooperation of Chad, and the use of one or more airbases in Chad. We'd need overflight rights over several more countries. We'd also need some force protection from the Chadians so that we wouldn't have to have more troops there just to guard the airbase and supplies.

I agree with you, logistics are a key reason why few countries, other than the US, can even think of doing this. Our Air Force could make it happen as long as we kept the foot-print small.

Posted by: Steve White on April 10, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

No laser guided bombs or GPS or UAVs in North Vietnam

"With 100 percent of my available concentration, I focus on keeping the thin crosshairs in the laser scope superimposed over the southernmost gun pit....The aircraft is traveling at 450 miles per hour, the hot, sunny day in Laos is producing thermals and bumps, and I am nervous. With no warning, the gun pit displayed in the scope under the cross hairs erupts in a massive explosion...We make two dive-bomb runs, drop two Paveways, and destroy two more guns with direct hits."

- Ed Cobleigh, "War for the Hell of It: A Fighter Pilot's View of Vietnam"

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe...
No laser guided bombs or GPS or UAVs in North Vietnam

"With 100 percent of my available concentration, I focus on keeping the thin crosshairs in the laser scope superimposed over the southernmost gun pit....

Yea, yea, but back then they were the proverbial magic bullets, expensive and brittle. Even back in Gulf War I they were a wee bit of the tonnage. Now they're ubiquitous and we use them to take out buildings with a few bad guys in them.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 10, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

To be precise... The Paveway started trials in Vietnam around 1968. However, Johnson's moratorium on bombing effectively put a halt to things. The Paveway did not enter service in any numbers until the 80's. However, other "smart" weapons, primarily electro-optical, had been in use for some, such as the AGM-62 Walleye (early 60's) and the AGM-12 Bullpup (50's) and the AGM-65 Maverick (60's).

As far as UAV's, the Teledyne Ryan Firebee--primarily used as a target drone at that time--was used in Vietnam in a variant known as the "'Lightning Bug". And we used a *lot* of them. There were other UAVs/RPVs developed, but none that I know of saw service with US forces.

Not that this has anything to do with Darfur...

Posted by: has407 on April 10, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Tassled Loafered Leech: I think I have mentioned it before- but part of the problem of intevening in Darfur is that it is a logistical nightmare.

Steve White: I agree with you, logistics are a key reason why few countries, other than the US, can even think of doing this.

The European/NATO assistance that was reported on quite some time ago focused on logisical, communications and intelligence support to the AU to support forward operations. It made sense, and there seemed to be some coherent thought beind it, especially given the AU's statements at the time.

Essentially, EU/NATO would provide support to the AU, and the protection for that support, while the AU would provide the forward boots on the ground. It seemd like a pretty reasonable plan, especially given the potential problems that a bunch of Western/European forces might generate if they got into the middle of things (or maybe in restrospect it was the unwillingness to put those Western/European boots in the middle of the conflict?).

Based on that outline, I thought that the AU and EU/NATO had come up with a reasonable approach. And in any case, it was far better than anything that the US could or would provide. However, if the AU is backpedaling on control (even logistical support) to NATO forces, then there's a serious question as to whether the AU is ready, willing and able to perform the task.

In short, once-upon-a-time it looked like the AU, with suitable Western support, might be able to clean up its own house. Now I'm not so sure. What I get for being an optimist. sigh

Posted by: has407 on April 10, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White--

Of course the refugees are seen as a destabilizing element in Chad, but I'm still not sure how it's going to shake out. It's not directly analogous to Congo, where the refugees from Rwanda eventually took over the country. Chad may be a mess, but it's no Congo. It doesn't seem like the Darfur refugees are interested in meddling in Chadian politics at this point.

Chad is clearly deeply annoyed at both the refugees and Sudan. But I think there is more desire just to go to war with Sudan. We might see actual traditional set-piece battles between adult soldiers, which I have to admit will be rather refreshing after all the horrible civilian massacres. Maybe the battles will even be fought as honorably as those in the Eritrean-Ethiopian war. One can dream.

France is quite clearly not just interested in "oil". If they were, how do you explain their rather vigorous actions in Cote d'Ivoire, etc? France still sees these African nations as part of their sphere of influence, and this has as much to do with national pride as it does with natural resources. And as strange as it may seem, most of these francophone African nations also still look to France as a protector of sorts.

As far as self-defense in a strict sense goes, I don't think it would really work. For the people of Darfur the damage is already done. They would be able to fight alongside some other force but I doubt they could be much of a force on their own. We're not talking about the RPF here.

Posted by: kokblok on April 11, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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