Sudan, genocide and what constitutes a holocaust

The war ravaged landscapes are etched in our minds. The gaunt faces of innocent children waiting to die as a result of governmental forces bombing the fields their families have tended since biblical times haunt the news broadcasts, and some of our dreams.

There are many voices who quite vociferously dispute whether America has any stake, any national interest, in helping. Some oppose any aid altogether. They don’t want to spend a dime on anyone outside the United States. Others want to do just enough to assuage the guilt they feel, knowing freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction, or some saying to that effect once spoken by a beloved icon.

As for freedom, there is always a cost. Blood, treasure, sacrifice and imperfect leaders trying to make the best decisions possible. In today’s economy, six trillion dollars would be a welcome addition to the Treasury. Let us engage in hindsight and find six trillion dollars.

In 1993 President Bill Clinton had the opportunity to take out Osama bin Laden, but more importantly he was tasked with finishing work begun by his predecessor. If after the Black Hawk Down incident Clinton chose to stay, fight, win and complete the tasks in Mogadishu, the world we live in would be greatly altered.

Taking out Osama bin Laden’s infrastructure of weapons and drug trafficking, via his friends like Mohammed Farah Aidid or Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir, life as we know it today would be altered. The little decisions, the choices of expedience and cowardice are often the ones that cost us the most in the end. Had he stayed, breaking the precedent set by Reagan’s cowardly and duplicitous departure from Beirut some years earlier, Clinton could have defeated bin Laden, saved Darfur from a genocide that took two million lives and steadied the American economy even longer.

There would have been no World Trade Center bombing, no Embassy bombings, no Khobar Towers bombings, no USS Cole bombing, no September 11th attacks, no war in Afghanistan, no Department of Homeland Security, and likely no war in Iraq. That totals up to around six trillion in hard dollars. One expedient decision that left the door open for evil. Certainly other troubles would have come but not from Osama bin Laden and Bashir.

President George W. bush recognized preventative medicine, or ‘compassionate conservatism’ was a smart policy. It is, after all, much easier to win flies with honey than vinegar.

Since the 19th Century, Christians and animists have advocated for the freedom of South Sudan. During Bush’s tenure, he was faced with a relentless and bipartisan advocacy campaign that brought Darfuris and other innocents being slaughtered for their ethnicity. Black Africans were subject to abductions, slavery, rape, torture and slaughter by the brutal Arab regime in Khartoum.

Bush, with considerable help from activists and think tanks brokered the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, giving South Sudan hope. The war crimes slowed, the International Criminal Court eventually indicted Sudan’s president and his closest lieutenants for genocide and the world moved on.

Even George Clooney noted at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last month, Americans have “misery fatigue.”

The work is not yet done. War crimes continue at the hands and direction of the same men in 2005. The same leader, Omar al Bashir, who once upon 1993, was little more than a blink in our national consciousness. Today, he partners with China, Iran, and other bad actors for profit.

While many will see this column as an argument supporting a full scale intervention, it is not that. I do support robust diplomatic action – something Bush was able to secure because he was directly engaged. I support a cross border aid delivery program as well. Every friend we make in Africa is someone we can rely on in the future.

Ending genocide is something Americans are familiar with, our ‘Greatest Generation’ fought this same kind of evil. Obama seems destined to repeat the mistakes of Cordell Hull and FDR. The economics of exporting our best values, our most bedrocks beliefs are always in our favor and in favor of new allies. Evil be damned.

  1. Herkybird

    Church1.jpg

    Today the world speaks of  Darfur. But before that it was Sudan’s Nuba Province, and Blue Nile Province, and most especially Equatoria Province with its capitol city, Juba. 

    In 1988 George H.W. Bush first committed U.S. resources to Southern Sudan.  His intervention led to a cease fire that enabled aid flights to reach the starving. Thus began the relief effort known as Operation Lifeline Sudan, organized under the auspices of the U.N. World Food Programme from their forward base at Lokichokio, on the Kenya/Sudan border.

    From that beginning has emerged the world’s newest independent nation: South Sudan – a free nation as of last July.  And Juba, formerly a refugee camp full of starving children, is now the growing capitol city of this newest of nations. Friends and colleagues still working there tell me I wouldn’t recognize the place now.

    So it’s not all bad news from South Sudan.  And be assured that U.S. moral authority was instrumental in bringing this about.  

    If you’d like to see a short video of what it was like back then, here’s a link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0q7wkZcMTw

  2. DocJay

    Our greatest generation did fight evil. If there were Germans or Japanese in a house killing us and maybe there were some human shields in there we still took a Howitzer to the house and the media did not care nor was there an international outcry followed by lawyers with civil actions against the extended families of the incarcerated soldiers. We cannot fight anywhere, especially where there are Muslims, given our current rules of engagement. So we are left with your solutions as our best hope and we have no money anymore, partially due to the very failure of Clinton you mentioned. To sit back and do nothing is inhuman. To ever put boots on the ground again is asinine.

  3. James Gawron

    Elizabeth,

    First things first.  If the UN does not declare a genocide in Darfur then the UN has no reason to exist.  It is totally morally bankrupt and no one need listen to another word or read another UN Resolution.

    Because of our Constitution we live in a Republic of Right and have a duty to further Perpetual Peace as best we can.  This is a limited capacity.  Even the UN’s jurisdiction is limited in power and scope.  However, to ignore a crime or worse create an intellectual fig leaf that covers it over is totally unaccepatble.

    You are quite right to point out that if we had followed conscience here Gd might of rewarded us with a better outcome.

    Regards,

    Jim

  4. Mel Foil

    Paraphrasing one religion reporter, “the reason that religious genocide (in general) falls into the West’s blind spot is, the left doesn’t understand or appreciate the religious motivations of the victims, and the right doesn’t understand or appreciate the (often exotic) cultures of the victims.” In short, nobody wants to see it as pure genocide. At least not enough to do anything about it.

  5. Caryn

    etoiledunord, I don’t quite understand the quote.  Do you really mean religious motivations of the victims?  Should that be of the perpetrators?  That makes more sense to me and makes the whole thing make more sense.  If I’m wrong, could you or someone elaborate?

    And Elizabeth, what a profound “if only.”

  6. Sisyphus

    Misery fatigue does not begin to cover it. If we rolled up our shirt sleeves we could find endless wrongs to right. Our relative wealth, might, and willingness to act in good faith for the benefit of others, but we too are fallen creatures and we have asked more of our forces in uniform over the last 11 years then most people appreciate. 

    And we have been feckless in our choice of civilian leadership. A strong economy would assure the wherewithal and confidence to project values and power. Instead we have this fatuous community organizer stumbling from blunder to blunder, bowing before tyrants, and declaring the United States the problem not the solution. 

    By this point I might have parked a carrier group at the mouth of the Nile and issued a brief statement of my concerns for the well-being of Christians in the Muslim world. Everywhere. 

    The West no longer believes it has the moral authority for this business, so until the arrival of adult leadership, it does not.

  7. cdor

    I have often wondered about Reagan’s decision to pull out of Lebanon. What happened to our Marines for merely executing a peacekeeping mission was horrifying, only to be matched by the subsequent destruction of “The little jewel of the Middle East” that was Lebanon. Everywhere the Palistinians go, terror and destruction are not far behind. Yes, and Hizbullah as well. And then your interesting timeline of Sudan and Clinton’s withdrawal from that ugly conflict. The laws of unintended consequences…