Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Talk about UN Troops going to Darfur

Fours years after the genocide became obvious to anyone with 20/20 vision, the United Nations is going to do something more than talk about a solution. Of course they have been applying bandages to the situation, quite literally in huge refugee camps, but there have been no steps towards a solution. Citizens need to talk out loud but leaders need to take actions.

Clifden Memorial 00008

African Union troops have been in the region for several years. Just observing, mind you. The AU provides limited security guard services at the aforementioned massive refugee camps. For that they should be commended, after all, Sudanese military guns have been trained on those troops all that time.

Leaders watching genocide is not a solution. American and British spies watched and filed reports about the genocide in Germany for years without the ability to take any direct action. The purpose of Auschwitz, Treblinka and other death camps were well known to Allied leadership. The Pope knew about Hitler's "Final Solution" too.

For some reason Post WWI leaders seem unwilling to accurately understand the causes of violence, to actually identify the culprits out loud and demand an immediate cessation to causes and the killing. Unless there is oil, a very large amount of oil, in question. In that case a scorched earth policy of aerial bombardment seems justified. The leaders of the U.S. still claim to not understand why militants want to kill U.S. citizens. It has nothing to do with the U.S. penchant for propping up brutal autocrats and military dictators, right?

If the U.S. and Britain parked a couple of aircraft carriers off the coast of Sudan three years ago how many lives would have been saved? Action would have been taken after no more than a few flybys of Khartoum, in all likelihood. Instead the entire world watched as Sudanese government forces, and their cohorts, burned hundreds of native villages to the ground. The carriers sailed right past Sudan to go make war on Iraq.

Now the UN will go to Sudan, with authorization to shoot back. That special permission to actually use the automatic weapon hanging from your shoulder will help some UN soldiers (Read: Dutch or New Zealand officers over Pakistani and Bangladeshi troops) sleep a little better at night. The reason the UN voted for that provision was that other genocide, the 350,000 dead in Rwanda. UN troops were not allowed to stop that wholesale slaughter. They could only watch and kick refugees back out on the street to be killed.

It is a strange penchant modern governments have, the desire to watch murder for years while doing nothing about it. Oh, yes, there are sanctions. Nothing more than an open invitation to smugglers to create a black market. Sanctions usually do a great job of starving the civilian populations and increasing infant mortality rates. Ten years of sanctions reduced the Iraqi economy to a shambles. Sanctions are having some impact in Iran, their commercial airliners keep crashing for lack of spare parts.

The greatest impact of the UN decision to send troops to Darfur region of Sudan happened today. Thousands of people read about it in the newspapers and saw it on their evening news programs. Ordinary citizens need to talk openly and loudly about mass murder, no matter what nation is perpetrating the acts. Leaders need to listen, investigate and take necessary actions. How hard is that process to understand?

Did you know 700,000 civilians have been killed since the U.S. invasion and start of the Iraqi Civil War? That is about the same number of deaths that resulted from the U.S. Civil War. That 1860s internal war caused more U.S. casualties than all other wars where the U.S. participated. 400,000 Northerners and 300,000 Southerners died as a result of that war. Students are carefully taught some of the lessons of that horrible conflict between brothers. The North and the South also used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in that war. One must wonder what the surviving Iraqis are teaching their children about the current war. Do the educated Sudanese talk about their nation's wars? How many more decades must pass before humans can honestly say they are civilised?

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