Thinking About Darfur
Darfur is indeed a tragedy. Americans, having the characteristics we do, are genuinely concerend and want to help. Want to help in an effective way. The tsunami corruption sured soured a lot of people who gave generously in a response to suffering.
You know how corrupt Darfur is. You also know we cannot afford a two-front war. What would you have us do to prevent the suffering and death sure to come?
Meanwhile, the specter of the nuclear weapons in Iran and the sinking realization that it's being run by a genuinely seasoned terrorist with much blood and a lot of American sufferin on his hands has badly distracted many of us.
The UN is worse than useless. They're part of the problem. And now we're being called on to participate in Haiti because no one seems to believe the UN Brazilian forces will be effective.
So, Minh-Duc, if you were in charge, how would you triage? What would be your reasons for your choices?
But I am hesitant this time. The reasons are obvious. We have a serious military commitment in Iraq in concurrent with other military operation against Islamist globally. It is a bitter struggle that will last for sometime. Unlike the situation during Rwanda, we simply do not have the neccessary force to commit to Darfur.
Let look at the situation on the ground. Currently there are 2,400 African Union troops on the ground. They do a commendable job but it is inadequate for the gravity of the situation. Their number is too small and they lack mobility (vehicles, helicopters) to carry out their mission efficiently. The area is too large. NATO promised to provide airlift and logistical support. But the most serious issue the AU peacekeepers face is that they are only monitors; their mandate does not allow them to enforce peace. This is the same situation of UNPROFOR faced in Bosnia prior to the US involvement. Murderers such as the Janjaweed only understand force. No indictment from the ICC or any other diplomatic means will deter them.
What we need to end the crisis in Darfur is application of force – a willingness to punish wrongdoers with bombs and bullets. But where do we get the force? Europe, as their track record shows, (even within their continent such as Bosnia and Kosovo), lack the backbone to intervene to end genocide, despite having the necessary forces and capability. The African Union is willing but unable to stop the crisis. An African solution for an African problem is an empty meaningless slogan – particularly empty to the victims of genocide.
But I believe there is still solution. The bulk of the US land force is in Iraq, but not our air power and naval power. Our naval power is still project toward the Pacific and our airpower has played a minor role in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad and will continue to be so for sometime. Can a punitive air campaign against the Janjaweed and the Khartoum military can bring the genocide to the halt? I think so. It will at least force them back to the negotiation table. It works against Milosevic ending his genocide in Kosovo. But we still need ground force for the aftermath to enforce the peace – such as one currently in Kosovo.