July 27, 2004

Kerry: Stop Genocide in Sudan

So far, the supposedly anti-war candidate John Kerry has articulated the most forceful position yet against genocide in Sudan.

I believe in the value of American leadership in the world. Today, a massive humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Darfur, Sudan, where 300,000 people or more may die in the coming months. This administration must stop equivocating. These government sponsored atrocities should be called by their rightful name – genocide.

The government of Sudan and the people of Darfur must understand that America stands prepared to act, in concert with our allies and the UN, to prevent the further loss of innocent lives. The United States must lead the UN Security Council in sanctioning the planners and perpetrators of genocide and authorizing an international humanitarian intervention.

It's probably a bit much to assume the United Nations would sanction a humanitarian intervention anywhere at any time. The UN did nothing to prevent Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims from being massacred by the hundreds of thousands at the hands of Slobo’s regime in Belgrade. The Clinton Administration, after several years of dithering, finally had to tell the UN to stuff itself and intervene “unilaterally” without even trying to get Security Council authorization to intervene. I expect Kerry would have to do something similar if he wins and gets serious about stopping genocide in Sudan or in any other place (Syria and Iran anybody?) ruled by tyrants who deserve some rough justice.

That would be all to the good. Human rights are incalcuably more important than the sovereignty of a genocidal regime. Besides, an intervention against the Sudanese government would fit rather nicely within the contexts of the Terror War. Sudan harbored Osama bin Laden, after all. Sudan's absence in the Axis of Evil is either an oversight or a mistake to be corrected. But hey, there's an opening now that Saddam is in a cage, and if Saudi Arabia isn't going to fill the void Sudan might as well.

The Arab regime in Khartoum has killed millions of people for the "crime" of being Christian and black, and it continues to do so today, using the janjaweed death squads as spear points. The fact that this regime climbed into bed with the world's most famous Saudi Arabian Islamofascist should shock no one.

Any government that treats its “own” people this way is at least a potential threat to nearly everyone else. If the examples of Hitler and Stalin are a little too aged, look no farther back than the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Kudos to John Kerry for taking a stand while most of the world shrugs.

Hat tip: Harry’s Place


UPDATE: I've been corrected in the comments. Most of the people killed by the Sudanese regime have been Christian or animist, but the black Sudanese in the Darfur region are actually Muslim. I've read quite a bit about what went on in the south, and assumed a similar story was taking place elsewhere. Sorry for goofing it.

It's genocide in any case, and as far as I'm concerned the particular ethnic faultline is irrelevant. The fact that genocide occurs against anyone for any reason is all that matters.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 07:43 PM
Comments

You are completely ignorant to the acutal happenings in Dafur. First, the population of the Dafur region is Muslim, the blacks being killed are Muslim. Second, the killings in Dafur are due, in part, to support the black Africans in the region have for Islamists who wish to overthrow the government. Therefore, it could be said that the genocide is a reaction against radical Islam.

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 08:13 PM

The people in Darfur are almost all black and Muslim. The people in the south of Sudan who were being killed before were black and animist or Christian. The people doing the killing are Arab.

The US, along with the UK, has already been proposing UN sanctions and interventions. However, it's been meeting with opposition from China and Russia. (France is very hard to read, and I've seen contradictory reports.)

As you note, it's all very well to say that we must try to lead the UN, but what if some nations don't follow? If the UN doesn't go along, then what?

Posted by: John Thacker at July 27, 2004 08:23 PM

Kerry can say anything he likes. He's not responsible for anything at the moment.

As noted above, the U.N. is emphatically disinterested in Darfur. QED, Mr. Kerry will have not moral obligation to be interested, either.

It's the bedrock of his foreign policy - the U.N. will determine where and when U.S. troops are deployed. At least that's the impression I've gotten from the primary circus. Oh, and his speeches in the Senate since the seventies.

But he COULD have a change of heart. He MIGHT grow into the job. I guess a reasonable man could accept the argument that he's been marshalling his resources for this last climactic challenge.

That would explain the frankly amazing level of non-involvement he's racked up. Sure it would. Being on the wrong side of histroy might be regarded as a stern tutelage in a rough school. If he had in fact learned anything.

It's only the presidency. I guess I shouldn't get so worked up, eh?

Posted by: TmjUtah at July 27, 2004 08:33 PM
Of course, in the 1990's the GOP congressional leadership was dead set against the war in Kosovo. Here's a jewel from the wonderful Tom DeLay:
“It is clear that any deployment to Kosovo will similarly drag on and go enormously over budget.” Floor Statement, 4/28/99
Oh, the irony!

Personally, I believe that we as a country need to be more multilateralist except in dire situations where immediate action would stop genocide and similar activites, and when immediate use of force is necessary to defend this nation.

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 08:37 PM

I knew someone was going to say or imply that Kerry isn't serious about this. Could very well be the case. It certainly wouldn't be the first time he said something he didn't mean. But advocating a war tends to be the sort of thing people don't joke around about, especially when they're running for president.

It's easy to be dovish when you're a senator, and it's easy to be that way when you're running against a hawkish president. It's different story when you're actually in the White House and actually responsible for what goes on. Bush ran for president as an isolationist. Reality forced him in the opposite direction. Would anyone really be all that surprised if the same thing happened with John Kerry? I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a certainty, but I wouldn't be shocked.

I don't believe a lot of the latest peacenik nonsense from the left is serious. (Although I do think the peacenik nonsense in Europe is serious.) Just ask your anti-war liberal friends if they would have supported the war in Iraq if Hillary Clinton were leading it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 08:40 PM

Thanks for the correction, Andrew.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 08:42 PM

Tmj-

Kerry said, within the past two weeks, that he would resort to unilateral US action if the situation warrented such action. I've explained my feelings on the unilateral vs. multilateral question. Kerry has explained his position. Now, you may think he puts too much emphasis on multinational process, but you know a statement like "It's the bedrock of his foreign policy - the U.N. will determine where and when U.S. troops are deployed." is a strawman.

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 08:42 PM

btw, Kerry has not been in the Senate "since the seventies." Dope.

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 08:44 PM

Andrew: Dope.

Stop. I appreciate TmjUtah's commentary. Thanks.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 08:46 PM

You appreciate strawman arguements?

Would you appreciate if one of your readers spouted some of the more questionable hawkish strawmans? "Iraq hawks love war" etc etc etc

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 08:50 PM

Andrew, I've been arguing with TmjUtah on and off all day in my comments and over email. I don't endorse everything he says, but I don't need to. He's been a regular here for some time, and he has contributed plenty of valuable commentary.

You fact-checked me today, and I appreciate that. This is an open and civil forum where argument, disagreement, and fact-checking are tolerated and encouraged. Only trolls get the boot.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 08:56 PM

"Just ask your anti-war liberal friends if they would have supported the war in Iraq if Hillary Clinton were leading it."--- MJT
How utterly pathetic.

Posted by: dougf at July 27, 2004 09:04 PM

If Hillary would have went in with enough troops and a plan for the post war, I would have supported the war.

My personal feeling on the war are much like Kevin Drum's. Initially I was for the war, but later realized, prior to the first shots, that this adminstration couldn't be trusted with the post-war rebuild.

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 09:11 PM

It's nice to hear Kerry saying the right thing with regard to Sudan. I just wish I could believe he would actually do the right thing as Commander-in-Chief, with regard to either Sudan, Iran, or wherever.

I confess to being rather partisan. I am libertarian with a small "l" and vote Republican as the lesser evil. But I am also an internationalist. The problem with Kerry as president is that even if Kerry means what he says, a vote for Kerry is a vote for the Democrat view of foreign policy. And the problem with the Democrats is that, ever since Vietnam, the base of the party, and many mainstream Democrats, have taken a dim view of American exceptionalism. Too many of them do not see America as the shining city on the hill anymore. American power is hubris, and needs to be "tamed" by the U.N. Blame America First. That attitude is STILL there, and it goes a long way in explaining why Republicans have captured the flag and patriotism.

The 60s hippies still haunt the Democrats. I guess we will have to wait for those people to die off before the Democrats have any real hope of becoming trustworthy on national securty again, if then.

I liked many of Clinton's domestic policies, but he was a peacetime president. Although we ignored the gathering storm of terrorism, it is a fact that there was no major war on Clinton's watch, thanks in no small part to the hard work and courage of the greatest presdient of the last half century : Ronald Reagan. But Clinton became president only because national security was not an issue at the time in the minds of most Amercians.

Posted by: freeguy at July 27, 2004 09:12 PM

Dougf: How utterly pathetic.

Do you mean I'm pathetic, or the anti-war liberals are pathetic? If you were referring to me, let me just point out that in the very next post after yours Andrew basically proved my point.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 09:20 PM

Talk is cheap.
If JK would go to the floor of the senate (providing he remembers where it is) and introduce a bill to do something about the situation in Sudan I would give him more credit than I can after hearing him take some cheap shots.
Ask yourself this though. Is stopping the killing in Sudan worth american lives? Where do we draw the line? Are we to send our soldiers off around the world to die in god forsaken places where we have no interests? There are lots of places where we could go and most are in Africa but what about Tibet and a half dozen other places?
What about Iran where there are really people in power who want to kill us and our allies.
We don't have the power to do them all and the UN is a powerless corrupt debating society that will want us to use our troops to do the dirty work anyway.
If the world were united I could see righting all the world's wrongs but as the world is we have to pick our targets since there is only so much of us to go around.

Posted by: Starhawk at July 27, 2004 09:36 PM

"Do you mean I'm pathetic/"--- MJT

Would NEVER call you pathetic. My ire was directed at the value system underlying your comment.
I support the war because I believe it to be not only useful but essential for the future engagement of Islamic expansionism.I support GWB because he seems to me to be the best agent for pursuing this war.If I thought that Kerry was anything but an example of Stein's dictum of 'there being no there,there",perhaps I would support him.Issue first.Director second.ALWAYS.
Your comment implied(well actually it stated)that your anti-war friends would be happy to jump on the bandwagon if only a DEMOCRAT was leading the charge.I do NOT consider that Andrew's considered response is representative of the Democratic Party mainstream.Its attitudes are far less NUANCED.
That inversion of morality is what I called 'utterly pathetic' and allow me to repeat.
UTTERLY PATHETIC --- This does nothing to disprove my 'moral bankruptcy'critique of the current Dems.In fact it highlights and amplifies it.
But if I ever say that about you ----- BAN ME.I will deserve it.
Sorry for the confusion.Sometimes less is not more --- just less.

Posted by: dougf at July 27, 2004 09:39 PM

Starhawk: Is stopping the killing in Sudan worth american lives? Where do we draw the line? Are we to send our soldiers off around the world to die in god forsaken places where we have no interests? There are lots of places where we could go and most are in Africa but what about Tibet and a half dozen other places?

If you replace "Sudan" with "Iraq" in this passage, it could have been written by an anti-war liberal.

I think it's in our interests to remove or at least confront the regime in Sudan. It's genocidal, it's Islamofascist, it has been and probably still is aligned with Osama bin Laden. These are not things to shrug at. The only other countries I can think of that could be arguably higher on the enemies list are Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both those two countries could have been put higher on the list than Iraq, too, by the way.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 10:01 PM

Michael - you didn't really goof it. Some of the people killed by the Janjaweed are Muslim, but since the Arab Islamist govt. of the Sudan has been killing and enslaving many thousands of people (mostly Christians, all black) for decades, and since the Janjaweed are supported by the Sudanese government, when you say that the "Arab regime in Khartoum has killed millions of people for the "crime" of being Christian and black, and it continues to do so today, using the janjaweed death squads as spear points" - you're absolutely right.

According to the BBC, human rights workers have stated that the Janjaweed are armed and recruited by the Islamist government of the Sudan.

The Government in the Sudan has established the same form of Islamic law that was used by the Taliban, and is currently being used by the Wahhabi govt. of Saudi Arabia. Under these laws, slavery is allowed, genocidal jihad is encouraged, and the slaughter of moderate muslims is allowed. According to Islamists/Wahhabis, moderate muslims are "polytheists," and their lives are without value.

Racism and the enslavement of blacks is also an Islamist tradition, according to All Africa

If Kerry is planning to take action, that would be a good thing, but I doubt that the UN would give any real support. They're still letting the Sudanese government keep it's place in the Human Rights Commission. Since the 'international community' wouldn't support this, it's hard to see how Kerry can keep his other promise, to make everyone like us again.

Posted by: mary at July 27, 2004 10:30 PM

Thanks, Mary. And good grief, I momentarily forgot Sudan was on the UN Human Rights Commission. What a farce!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 10:36 PM

Andrew -

Thanks for the history lesson. I erred.

Was mistaken.

Was wrong.

Overlooked the date.

It still doesn't change the fact that Kerry's entire political career, dating from his activism beginning in the seventies, has been rock-ribbed Left and just about devoid of any example of leadership beyond winning elections and marrying money.

I know what Kerry has said. I also have taken the liberty of looking at his party, and his base, and doubt that he's got anything resembling a mandate that extends beyond pre-9/11 public relations missile moves. If even that.

Tough work herding cats. I can almost feel his pain.

Posted by: TmjUtah at July 27, 2004 10:45 PM

I seem to recall an article on some blog (but can't remember where, or give the URL) discussing the sort of wars liberals/leftists will support nowadays. The war has to be totally for humanitarian reasons, and, most importantly, has to be totally devoid of any strategic interest to the US, and must not enhance its power. In other words, the US motives have to be selfless and "pure." A war in the Sudan would fit the bill perfectly, as far as I can see. So Kerry feels it's safe to support it--no problem from the more radical wing of the party.

Posted by: blogaddict at July 27, 2004 10:57 PM

You guys are missing my point on the hillary comment. I would have supported a war which i thought would have been sucessful, regardless of the party. A GWB led Iraq war without his Defense Department dismissing the need for a large occupying force would have been wonderful and I would have supported it. In the future I'll use clearer rehtoric.

TMJ-

Kerry was at the front of a much needed anti-war movement when he returned from 'Nam. During his senate time he has focused on investigations more than legislation. I think his leadership qualities are in line with the last two presidents we've elected in this country.

Here's you talking about Democrats and the war on terror:
...doubt that he's [kerry] got anything resembling a mandate that extends beyond pre-9/11 public relations missile moves. If even that.
Another starwman. If you are refering only to Barbara Lee then you're correct, but, fortunatly, she was the only Democrat in congress to oppose the war in Afganistan. Hillary, Bill, Al, Tom, Ted, John, John, and Dick all vigorously supported military action to topple the Taliban in Afganistan
Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 11:11 PM

Blogaddict,

Liberals supported the war in Afghanistan. Only the radical nutjobs opposed that. So that thesis doesn't quite hold up these days.

It might have been true between the end of Vietnam and 9/11. But didn't Gulf War One have something like 90 percent support in America? I opposed it then, but I was just a stupid kid in a hippy college town who didn't know anything.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 27, 2004 11:14 PM

Addict-

See my comment above. All congressional Democrats, save Congresswoman Lee, supported the war in Afganistan. A war which has signficant stragetic implications for the United States.

You're also wrong about Sudan not having strategic interests for the United States. Failed states, especially those which could become havens for international islamic, terror are a very very bad thing.

TMJ-

As for you "marrying rich women" comment. Is it possiable that he loves his wife? Does it seem unusual for a widow of a senator to marry another senator? Married couples often share similar backgrouds (same profession, Howard and Judy Dean, for example). Did you vote Clinton in 1996? Afterall, Dole did marry a wealthy woman.

Posted by: andrew at July 27, 2004 11:30 PM

Last week I decided that Sudan was the most immediate genocide threat. Monday I posted a Fantasy Speech by Bush on Sudan as Genocide.
http://tomgrey.motime.com/post/314378#314378

Part of my idea in the fantasy was to get Bush pushing Amnesty & Human Rights Watch to call it Genocide (as of then, they didn't). As well as naming and shaming the UN for inaction.

It's a fair question for Americans and liberals -- is stopping genocide worth even one American military life? Also, and more important, is ACTION more moral than inaction, when action will, inevitably, mean Americans kill some innocents in order to achieve victory.

I think Bush should be making such a speech, every week or so, until the human-life loving liberals are admitting that 1) stopping genocide IS worth some American lives, like hundreds, perhaps even thousands, and 2) stopping deliberate mass-murder of innocents by using force means some innocents will be killed, and that is an acceptable, regretable, reality of hard choices.

And regime change in Sudan is another reasonable step to reduce Islamic Terrorism -- even though Iran is the huge coming threat.

Posted by: Tom Grey at July 28, 2004 12:36 AM

MJT,

The only way to stop the genocide in Sudan will be through military intervention. However, Darfur is a undeveloped, geographically isolated region the size of France hundreds of miles inland. Ending the genocide in Darfur will take a huge military commitment when we are already over-stretched. Getting troops there and keeping them supplied will be a huge logistical challenge. Meanwhile, jihadists are currently recruiting in Khartoum to fight any potential intervention. Darfur is a trap. We would be fighting the Jihadists on ground of their choosing. Beware Darfur. I say let the Euros handle it.

Posted by: HA at July 28, 2004 03:58 AM

People have a legitimate right to be concerned about the Democratic Party's approach to foreign policy. But one should not assume that Kerry would adopt the views of the most liberal or pacifist elements in the party. Clinton and even Carter both took actions in foreign policy that elements of the base did not like. (Carter's own Sec. of State resigned over the Iranian rescure operations). Presidents are not tied to their base in foreign policy--they tend to react to the dynamics of the situation once in office. Now, whether Kerry himself would be unwilling to use force when necessary is a question that can't be answered. But there is a very good article in the June Atlantic (I don't know how to link these things) that spells out a likely Kerry foreign policy. Admittedly, it's a very pro-Kerry article, but it doesn't suggest to me that he would turn over our foreign policy to the UN or disavow the use of force. No one knows what a Kerry foreign policy would actually be like, just as no one knew what Bush's policy would be like.

Posted by: MWS at July 28, 2004 07:47 AM

My favorite superhero had the best tagline in Marvel and DC universes:

"With Great Power comes Great Responsibility"

America has the greatest power available to any country today. Our budget on Defense is 10x that of our nearest potential enemy. We have great power.

Many who are now against the Iraq war, believe that this great responsibility is restraint, not acting until one absolutely must. I know that I felt that Afganistan was one of those situations where we must act. However, I have yet to hear a good argument why Iraq was a 'must act'. That is why I am against this war, that is why many Americans are protesting this war. None of my friends are anti-war, but most of them are Anti-Iraq-War. I would fully support Kerry or Bush stepping in to stop wholesale genocide, I would hope that they partnered with the UN, but if the UN fails to act, then I see no problem with unilateral action.

The fact that Kerry opposes This War, being prosecuted This Way, with This Level of (dare I say) Incompetence, has little to do with how he would react millitarily in another situation. There were not big anti-war rallies when we went into Afganistan. There were not huge anti-war rallies when we were involved in the Gulf War. Those were cases where Great Responsibility meant soiling our hands with Human blood. Sudan sems to be another case, where our responsibility in to ACT. I believe that any president, even Kucinich would use force if necessary to prevent wholesale genocide.

(In fact, I would have supported going after Saddam when he gassed the Kurds... but he was our friend then. damn politics)

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 28, 2004 08:19 AM

So, andrew, if you're generally in favor of the idea of the war but think that the current Administration can't be trusted to rebuild it, what do you think of those Democrats, like John Edwards, who voted for the war but voted against the money for reconstruction? What about the people like John Kerry, who have argued that all we really want out of Iraq is stability, and that democracy is too much to hope for?

Honestly, the people who seem eager to bug out have been Democrats, not Republicans.

The incompetence argument is another issue, but I've never seen any convincing explanation of why people think that the occupation has been such. Certainly many people were upholding Al-Sadr's rebellion (which does seem Iranian sponsored) as evidence of incompetence, but it seems to me that it's been resolved extremely effective, and without inflaming any sort of public opinion. I'm not sure how anyone could have any knowledge of Iraq and not expect some sort of discontent in the Tikrit and Fajullah areas. I'm also completely confused as to how anyone could be familiar at all with the history of the post-WWII occupations and expect any better. Of course, WWII was a different time, when the news media was far more censored, formally and informally.

I've long suspected that the "Kevin Drum position" is one of evasion, of refusing to make a tough decision.

Posted by: John Thacker at July 28, 2004 09:35 AM

Ratatosk-- so the slow extermination of the Marsh Arabs by draining their native land doesn't bother you, because it was too slow compared to gassing the Kurds, even though it had been going on since the Gulf War? A tough decision, I grant, but exactly how quickly must a dictator exterminate a people and their way of life before it starts becoming a problem to you?

As an aside, living in a college town, I did see all sorts of "No War for Oil" protests against the First Gulf War.

I would have approved of getting rid of Saddam at any time. There are plenty of unfortunate real world reasons why we can't get rid of every nasty dictator at all times, however. But I shed no tears over getting rid of one when we can.

Posted by: John Thacker at July 28, 2004 09:44 AM

With regard to our troop strength and whatnot, according to Reuters, a British commander has offered to send 5,000 troops, "but Khartoum is refusing British or U.S. military help. Australia says it could send troops as U.N. peacekeepers."

SecState Powell replied and said at this time a military option in Darfur is "premature."

Posted by: LJ at July 28, 2004 09:48 AM

Of course there were some protests against the Gulf War, there is a subset of Americans who are against war at all costs. However, that is not the position of most of the people I know who are currently against this war. (Those protests were not even half the size of the protests now).

As for taking out Saddam, as I've stated before, in my mind, it was the wrong war at the wrong time, and certianly done in the wrong way.

If we had entered Iraq, during peacetime, specifically because of his human rights abuses, I would have cheered Bush on. However, the manner in which we were taken to war (the spreading of fear, uncertianty and doubt among Americans, lies about intelligence ), the obvious bad planning that didn't anticipate a drawn out confrontation with insurgents and the failure to maintain our own High Standards when dealing with hman rights leaves me with no choice but to say that this war was a bad idea.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 28, 2004 10:00 AM

So, andrew, if you're generally in favor of the idea of the war but think that the current Administration can't be trusted to rebuild it, what do you think of those Democrats, like John Edwards, who voted for the war but voted against the money for reconstruction?

When you make disingenuous arguments like this, you should be aware that it undercuts the ability to take seriously the rest of what you write. There are many substantial criticisms that can be leveled against Kerry, but this is not one of them.

Of the $87 billion funding package against which Kerry voted, he said he was "prepared to spend whatever it takes to win the peace. But I want to spend that money responsibly and effectively." Kerry took issue with nearly a quarter of the reconstruction funds being slated for companies with questionable ties to the Bush administration, such as Halliburton, preferring that this money be invested in Iraqi companies--which would have provided desperately-needed employment for idle Iraqi hands, given the Iraqi people a sense of personal ownership of their country's reconstruction, and helped spur Iraq's economy. To say nothing of getting far more bang for our buck than we've gotten from the demonstrably-inefficient Halliburton and Bechtel.

In addition, Sens. Kerry and Biden indicated that they would compromise and support the bill if it was paid for by scaling back the very top end of Bush's tax cuts--those for households earning $300k a year or more. The White House was unwilling to budge on this issue, so Kerry voted against it.

Bills often go through many different versions, and include many different riders and aspects over which lawmakers dicker. When you examine someone's vote, you have to account for context, and when you try to remove the vote from its context and use it as a smear, it is dishonest. Example: last week, Congressional Republicans were working on a deal with the Democrats to extend the middle-class tax cuts for two years, possibly cutting spending elsewhere to pay for it. The White House insisted that any such legislation extend the cuts for at least five years, and that no other spending cuts be part of them--and threatened to veto any tax cut extensions which did not meet these requirements.

Based on the standards of logic you use on Kerry, I would be fair and accurate in saying that the White House is against tax cuts. Clearly this would be a nonsense smear--and so is the allegation that Kerry opposed reconstruction funds for Iraq.

Posted by: Catsy at July 28, 2004 10:18 AM

Ya know, I continue to wonder how these interventions are supposed to work. I mean after we've gone in and put a stop to the killing.

Seems to me that the UN might be useful as an organization that could guide nations to modernity. It seems obvious to me that a place to start might be some type of agreed upon framework, maybe a "Constitution for the Developing Nation". This constitution would be implemented forcefully in countries that had proven themselves incapable of adequate self-rule, i.e. those whose government commits genocide.

That way, there should be no question of commitment by UN members, since they would have had a hand in the creation of the constitution. Further, governments and their troops would be viewed as implementing and then supporting a constitution to the benefit of all citizens, rather than a particular "side" (even an aggrieved one).

Posted by: crionna at July 28, 2004 01:13 PM

Sounds good to me, Crionna. But I think Kofi would hate it. Sovereignty trumps all in the UN. Failed states, genocide, slave labor, and all the rest of it mean nothing in that chamber.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 01:32 PM

Yeah, I guess you're right Michael. Too bad, cause I really hate to think of us dropping troops into Sudan now, only to have need of their return 8 months later to quell the revenge killings....

Posted by: crionna at July 28, 2004 02:30 PM

Andrew --

Interesting that you would have supported the war if the president would have gone in with enough troops for the postwar. With all due respect, that is a ridiculous position. Either the war was justified, or it wasn't. There has been a distinction between "ius ad bellum" and "ius in bello" at least since Aquinas.

I am one of the few people who isn't convinced that the conventional wisdom that we don't have "enough troops" in Iraq is correct. The military leaders on the ground in Iraq seem satisfied with the number of troops there. Moreover, successful wars against insurgents have not been waged by committing large numbers of troops: See Max Boot's book on Small Wars for a history lesson.

Posted by: Ben at July 28, 2004 02:55 PM

I honestly have a hard time believing that all these antiwar people would have supported an invasion with a stronger human rights focus. After all, when the Administration attempted to make a more complicated argument strongly pushing human rights as one of several factors all tipping towards invading, the complaint from The New York Times editorial page and elsewhere was that the Administration was being too confusing and deceptive, because they had too many reasons for going in. (Each argument was attacked in turn for being too weak to alone justify an invasion. When the Administration claimed that the combination of reasons was stronger than any separately, this was strongly attacked.)

Ratatosk, you should also clarify your comments about FUD and lies about intelligence. I certainly heard plenty of FUD by antiwar types (about the tons of casualities one could expect, among other things), and continue to hear plenty of lies from them about intelligence and otherwise, certainly by the standard you're proposing. If being mistaken is tantamount to lying, then the antiwar movement is in far worse shape. Considering that we've demonstrated that Iraq certainly was attempting to restart its weapons programs, had some weapons which were in violation of the cease fires and UN resolutions, and that many sources in and outside of Iraq (including Republican Guard commanders and the intelligence services of our country as well as all others) believed that Iraq had WMD or was further along than, thank God, Saddam turned out to be, it's completely irresponsible to refer to the claims as "lies."

Catsy-- I was referring to John Edwards, specifically, not Kerry. I was aware of Kerry and Biden's offer to support the bill by repealing tax cuts, which was not Edwards' position, nor that of many of the Democrats. In any case, they would in no way support the spending there by cutting spending anywhere else, in any sort of pork. They only wanted it in exchange for a separate pet political goal of theirs that they had been pushing anyway. Therefore, I cannot possibly view it as any sort of noble attempt at budget balancing, but rather an attempt to hold hostage some more important spending to other, independent policy goals of theirs. Frankly, it reminded me of nothing so much as Senator Helms's holdup of various international funds to support his own private priorities.

I also don't believe that more troops on the ground could stop some of the suicidal terrorists. It's clearly not an issue of pure troop strength. Perhaps more troops walking around would provide more intimidation; perhaps they would just be more targets. In any case, the various terrorists in Iraq have shown no compunction about striking innocent Iraqi civilians when they can, and we can't possibly send enough troops to be a bodyguard everywhere.

Kerry still strikes me as fundamentally unserious so far in statements like the one Michael quotes, because he refuses to state what he would do if the UN refuses to go along. I'd certainly like to believe that he would put principle above the UN, but too much fetishizing of international cooperation means that principles like human rights will be sacrificed every time. Current UN principles of sovereignty make it essentially impossible to send in peacekeepers unless the regime in Khartoum supports it, which of course they don't. And, as documented, powerful countries in the UN Security Council oppose intervention, and have important reasons to do so, from their own self-interest.

I'm getting far, far too much of an impression from the Kerry campaign, from past Kerry statements (going back to when he was in Vietnam up until recently), and from the Democratic Convention that human rights are important, but if it comes a conflict between international cooperation and human rights, human rights lose out.

Posted by: John Thacker at July 28, 2004 11:17 PM

Let me get this straight....Kerry's idea to intervene in Darfur is noble yet Bush's intervention in Iraq is evil, war-mongering imperialism? I wonder how Mohammed and his brothers over at Iraq the Model would react to Kerry's comments. At least President Bush took action, all we will ever hear from Kerry is cheap talk. Sure, if elected President Kerry will have influence at the United Nations, sure he will...right....

Really, this is all too SICK for words.

Today's American Liberal is no longer an American Liberal but a mere phony with a self-righteous attitude.

Posted by: syn at July 29, 2004 07:42 AM

We do know now that former President Carter set precedence in allowing Islamic Fasicism to fester. Actually, he is the reason why Islamic Fascism has been at war with America for the past two decades. Carter enabled Islamic Fascist to set up shop, he believed in supporting Islamic theocracy.

Posted by: syn at July 29, 2004 07:49 AM

I also find it disturbing to hear Kerry wishes to intervene in Darfur to end that genocide but ending genocide in Iraq was a bad idea America should never have undertaken.

The message Kerry is conveying to me is that the skin color of the Iraqi people is not DARK ENOUGH to warrant action to end their oppressive genocidal life (rather hell) under Saddam.

I used to be Centrist, but this is changing due to the blantant racism out of the Democratic platform.

Posted by: syn at July 29, 2004 08:13 AM

Who says Kerry is the anti-war candidate? Kerry certainly hasn't said he's the anti-war candidate.

Posted by: kc at August 9, 2004 03:13 PM
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