Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why Not Darfur?

Someone recently asked me, in response to my statement of support for the war in Iraq on humanitarian grounds, then why not Darfur. This is of course an example of fallacious thinking, often intended to shut down debate: if one action is not or cannot be taken in all instances, it is not good or right in any instance. Such an argument is plain wrong, and if acted out in practice would give us a world where in good actions are possible, because all good actions aren't always possible.

However, let me assume good faith on the part of the questioner...why doesn't America take military action in the Darfur region of Sudan?

The UN conventions on genocide authorize military action against a state when a genocide is underway. It is percisely for this reason that governments go to such linguistic and logical leaps to not declare genocide when one is clearly underway. It is percisely this reason that has caused our own government to tiptoe up to the line--but not quite over--where genocide is declared, and this is an unmitigated tragedy.

It's pure politics why we don't: no international backing, and domestic politics--those who feel no intervention is justified.

Time and agin in the 20th century the world has stood by and done little more than talk while the butchers rang up a bloodier and bloodier bill. Cambodia, Rawanda, Iraq...the list goes on.

So in answer to the question of "why not Darfur", I answer "why not indeed?"


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