It would seem that the Washington Post is just a little bit confused. Today they have an editorial, yet again, calling on President Bush to “do something” about Darfur.
The administration is right that a solution to Darfur’s crisis requires a political settlement between government and rebels. But in the absence of a breakthrough or even the prospect of one, diplomacy is a distraction from Darfur’s humanitarian disaster. In 2004, the administration invested considerable effort in securing various United Nations resolutions that didn’t have much impact on the ground; in 2005, the effort invested in peace talks has had a similar fig-leaf function.
Both diplomatic efforts disguised the basic question that the administration should face: Does it want to prevent genocide, or not? If it does, it needs to figure out a way to get a much expanded peacekeeping force into Darfur. If it does not, perhaps it should come out and say so.
But didn’t the Post get the word? I’m sure it has been in all the papers. The role of the United States military is not war fighting, it is not peacekeeping, the role of the U.S. military is to keep the troops safe. We’ll even accept defeat if it means keeping our troops out of harms way.
I’m sure the Post is not seriously suggesting that American troops be sent to the Sudan. There’s people with guns there; people with bombs; people that might endanger the troops. Somebody might get hurt or even killed. Even worse, that someone might be an American soldier.
Now, it’s all well and good to tsk-tsk over “rebels” getting killed in Darfur, but they’re black and in Africa. What do you expect?
The ones doing the killing are the sovereign government of Sudan. Surely the Post doesn’t propose that we invade a sovereign country and oppose their legal government. Not only that, but the government is Muslim. I’m sure they don’t want to sent troops against Muslims again. What about the “Arab Street”? We can’t fight Arab Muslims, it’s just too hard. Hasn’t the Post been paying attention to the whole Iraq debate?
I mean, what would happen if we sent troops and someone set off an IED?
The Post and the NYT would have to start opining about quagmires and demanding timetables for withdrawal. Democrats would wear themselves out making speeches asking why the troops are there. It would be chaos.
Of course there might be some lives saved. But if it were at the expense of American lives it would not be worth it. Far better to have the troops remain in the U.S. where they’re safe. We can alway put out press releases deploring the Darfur situation. It’s worked so far and it’s much safer that way. That’s what we did in Cambodia and Rwanda and look how well that has worked.
If people in the Third World are looking for reliable allies, they might talk to China or Iran. They may be murderous, but they still have a backbone.
As for the U.S.?
We’ll still be around making brave speeches about American ideals of freedom. Just don’t expect us to try to live up to them.