Saturday, July 07, 2007


About a month ago, I attended a friend's son's bar mitzvah. Apparently, the latest trend is for the celebrant to ask the guests to make donations to a specified charitable cause rather than buy him a gift. This celebrant asked invitees to donate to a save Darfur organization.

After inspecting the organization's website, I gave the requested donation, on the theory that it would probably do no harm. But what really struck me was how utterly useless the organization appeared to be. From what I could tell, the organization's only idea was to raise "awareness" about how terrible things were happening in Darfur, and insist that someone do something. Unfortunately, it wasn't clear who that someone was, and it wasn't clear what it was that it or they should be doing. To the extent the website gingerly mentioned the possibility of peacekeeping forces or no-fly zones, the suggestion seemed to be that they would be undertaken by UN or other international organizations.

All of which got me thinking about Rwanda. I think it was Philip Gourevitch in his excellent and gut-wrenching book, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, who pointed out that, if the U.S. had used a single cruise missile or bomb to take out the Rwandan national radio station, that act would likely have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, because the mass murderers were using the radio station to direct the killing squads where to go.

So, too, in Darfur: everyone knows perfectly well that the Sudanese government is behind the Janjaweed killers. A surprise cruise missile attack or bombing sortie on the Sudanese government offices in Khartoum would reduce the mass murder in Darfur immediately. And yet the Save Darfur organizations, such as the one whose web site I viewed, cannot bring themselves to demand the one action that everyone knows would be the most efficacious.

Why? They will have to look into their own hearts, but my guess is the usual mix: hatred of Bush and of the US military make it impossible for them even to conceive of the use of force except, possibly, by corrupt international organizations that will never act.


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