The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Save Darfur

A “Save Darfur” rally, attended by many of the usual suspects and a few name celebrities, was held in Washington over the weekend. Speaker after speaker emphasized that a genocide is in progress—that Arab Moslem militias, supported by the Islamic government of Sudan, are committing genocidal atrocities against black Africans in Darfur.

The crowd was unquestionably “progressive” and undeniably concerned with the plight of those being raped and slaughtered. And yet, many just couldn’t bring themselves to admit that ultimately, the violence and the heinous atrocities will stop only when force is applied.

In a wonderful post entitled “Love Beams Won’t Do It”, Mark Reynolds discusses the rally:
The strange thing, listening to the speeches, and in reading the infrequent signs, was how little idea anyone had about what precisely should be done about Darfur. One speaker would exclude any sense that we should actually do anything other than perhaps pray and beam love rays at people. Then would come someone who’d talk about expeditionary forces. I even heard the word “Marines” spoken favorably from the podium.

In that context the references to the Holocaust were just frustrating. What do people imagine we could have done to stop the Nazis in 1940 or 1942? Would just a little more love have changed Hitler’s mind? I don’t think many of the Jews in the audience are under any illusions on that score. A few choruses of kumbaya weren’t going to do the trick. Stopping the uber-genocide would have meant connecting some high velocity lead to some aryan brain matter.

If we’re seriously opposed to genocide it seems to me we have to be ready to think very seriously about having the means, and the will, to send troops to shoot some of these evil bastards in the head. As it happens, we’re in the middle of just such a head-shooting venture. However muddled the thinking, however disastrous the planning, however dishonest the sales job, Iraq is in part about taking out a murderous thug who was, without question, the moral equal of any Janjaweed rapist or child killer.

People who oppose the Iraq venture often do so on grounds that we have no right to “impose” our world view. Some oppose the war in Iraq on grounds that we failed to build international consensus. Well, what’s needed in Darfur is for us to impose our world view — the one that says, “don’t throw babies onto bonfires, don’t gang-rape women.” And international consensus is hard to achieve when major world players like China and Russia have no moral objection to genocide, and when the French and Germans are so compulsively anti-American in their policies that they would welcome, to steal a Simpsons line, “our new insect overlords,” if it meant poking Uncle Sam in the eye.

Part of the reason I seethe at the Bush administration’s incompetence, is that the underlying notion that the United States has the right to pre-emptively defend itself, and the moral obligation to use its power to get between people like the Janjaweed and their victims, is correct. We have the right to defend ourselves, even if it means striking first, and we have the moral obligation, where possible, to shoot the man who would murder a child. Those ideas have both been damaged almost beyond repair by the arrogant, reckless, swaggering stupidity of this administration.

Eventually, Mr. Bush will go away and take his clown college with him. But we’ll still have questions of pre-emption, and questions of whether we really mean, “Never Again,” or we’re just mouthing off to make ourselves feel good. The fact is and will remain that if we genuinely intend to stop genocide everywhere it rears its nasty head, then yes we’re going to need international law, and yes we’ll want diplomacy, but yes we’ll need bullets, too.

I have to wonder what the position of the ‘give peace a chance” crowd is in all of this. If Iraq is such a horrific blunder, how can “intervention” in Darfur be anything other than another horrific blunder. And yet, the genocide must stop and if we don’t intervene, it’s likely to continue, regardless of the agreements that are now being signed.

I guess there are many situations in the real world where the only way to give peace a chance is to kill the bad guys who won’t give peace a chance.