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July 20, 2004
While We Sit on the Sidelines...
Mark Steyn on why the West has so far failed the civilians being slaughtered in Sudan.
And that's the cold truth. The far left of the world would rather that the nations who could make a difference don't. Because there is never a justification for killing. Because there is never a justification for war. Because, as long as we keep ourselves out of it, the only blood spilled is the blood of the innocent at the hands of the tyrants. Because give peace a chance, man.
I'm sorry, but that's a pretty high cost for a supposedly clean conscience.
The tough part, being an American, and being pro-intervention is that as powerful as the US is, both militarily and politically, even we don't have the power to right all of the world's wrongs.
My favorite book of all time is Catcher in the Rye. One of the things that I liked about it was the idea of the catcher--that is, the person running through the rye, at the edge of the cliff, doing his damnedest to keep children from falling over the edge. As you grow up, you realize that there is only so much you can do to help keep the world safe from danger--and that "so much" is really "so little." Like Holden, we all realize that we have to grow out of our Superman fantasies.
The UN is different. As a theoretical league of nations, it does have the power to make a great difference in the world. If the UN were an organization dedicated to its charter--the prevention of genocide, for instance--it would be an organization dedicated to actually acting in the interest of the Sudanese people, and the millions that live in places like Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, the UN is devoted to its clean conscience. A devotion that comes at the cost of thousands upon thousands of lives throughout the world, year after year, while we all sit on the sidelines and watch. Sooner or later, the US or the UN will probably send troops in, but the blood will have been shed, the women brutally murdered and raped, and the lives left to be saved will be few.
Again, that seems like an awfully high price for the innocent to pay.
I call bullshit. Our conscience isn't clean when we sit back and watch the innocent die while our politicians either ignore the situation or debate it until the mass graves are filling up again.
Update: For an opposing (or, more accurately, a different) view on this subject, check out this post. While I disagree with the writer, Michael (and do think that bombing and strategic intervention can be effective as part of a larger effort for creating changes--that is, bombing by itself isn't enough, but can be part of a larger effort of regional change) it's well worth reading. Notably, I don't disagree with the idea of using economic pressure to force change, either--but that by itself is rarely enough.
Saddam Hussein, theoretically, faced draconian economic measures designed to force him to comply with UN mandates and to bring about political changes. These measures simply didn't work--and, in dealing with oil, there is always a potential buyer willing to funnel oil into the world market where there is no differentiation between one nation's oil and another.
Whereas Michael doesn't seem to like the idea of military intervention, I propose that, while military intervention isn't always the answer, there are times when it needs to be one of many approaches used in forcing changes in the worst possible situations. A few weeks ago, I wrote Confessions of a Bleeding Heart Warmonger on my other site, and I think it outlines, to some extent, how I feel about war in general and Iraq in specific.
In the Sudan, I happen to think that an invasion of the type seen in Iraq isn't even remotely necessary. I do believe, though, that an escalating, aggressive response that starts with economic inducements and scales to military intervention over a very short period of time is in order.
Thanks to Michael for taking the time to respond and for pointing to his own article on the subject.Posted by zombyboy at July 20, 2004 01:36 PM