Monday, November 13, 2006

Human Face of Genocide

On the front page of the NY Times Website today, there is a video on the Human Face of Genocide. Journalist Nicholas Kristof speaks of how the international community is ready to provide bandages to those who are mutilated as a result of this genocide, but that we seem to be doing little to end it. The video shows a man whose eyes have been gouged out as he lies in bed. So we ask, "how can someone do this to others?" And, then as Kristof points out, we provide bandages once the damage has been done. But is that where our role ends? Is that all we can do? This viedo really got to me because Kristof seems to be asking the questions that makes you question yourself.

It is a video that is hard to watch...

9 comments:

Mad Max said...

To Milika, Nicholas Kristof and all the rest of the “bleeding hearted liberals” who demonstrated and demanded that the U.S. intervene in the Darfur region of Sudan, I have a simple and clear message: Buy yourself a gun and plenty of ammunition, and go intervene yourself.
The fighting in Darfur is not a conflict of good guy versus bad guy. It is bad guy versus bad guy. Both sides are armed. Both sides have committed atrocities. Both sides show as much sympathy and mercy for the other as a rattlesnake does for a mouse.
It is not a conflict of white versus black. Both sides are black. It is not a Muslim-versus-Christian conflict. Both sides are Muslim.
The conflict is, most of all, none of our business. It does not affect the United States one iota. If it goes on for 10 years, it will not affect the United States. If it is resolved tomorrow, it will not affect the United States. We have no strategic or national interests whatsoever in Sudan. If the people in Sudan wish to kill each other, that is their business, not ours.
It is past time for the American people to demand that Congress and the president stop sending American youth to die in other people's wars. The idea of using American youth as a hypocritical humanitarian police force (hypocritical because liberals are always selective in choosing their crises) is both obscene and unconstitutional. These young men and women join the armed forces to defend America, not to inject themselves into other people's local quarrels.
The casualty statistics you keep hearing are unreliable, though I don't doubt they are high. As for genocide, that word has been defined so loosely you could be charged with it for shooting a burglar. We did nothing when Stalin and Mao were slaughtering millions; we did nothing when Pol Pot murdered a third to a half of the Cambodian population. We did nothing when the Ibos were wiped out in the Nigeria Civil War. What's happening in Sudan is Little League compared with all the mass murders we've ignored.
There are large pockets of human misery all over the world, and we definitely are not the world's policeman. Why American liberals have decided to get excited about Darfur, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the rebel faction has hired a public-relations firm.
At any rate, let those itching to intervene go themselves and put their bodies on the line. They have no right whatsoever to deprive an American mother of her son just so they can feel good about themselves at their next cocktail party.

hewhowould said...

Mad Max you know what? You are right it’s not our problem. It’s not our problem that bodies flow down stream into neighboring countries. It’s not our problem that the mounds of rotting bodies may create a new plague that could spread over seas. And it’s definitely not our fault that someone like Stalin killed millions and left his country in ruin. It’s also not our fault that a large country like Russia will soon not exist because the death rate out numbers the birth rate more then 4 to 1 and the whole Russian population will vanish. So what if countries like Sudan wipe themselves off the map through Genocide? Why don’t we just suggest at the next cocktail party to Nuke every country that is involved with Genocide off the face of the earth? You would not even mention it at a party because you would be branded as an idiotic meat head with a trigger happy finger.
I will agree with you on the fact that it is not right for some people just to send American troops into places like Sudan without a game plan or just for the fact that it will help them sleep better at night. The fact is Genocide is a problem for everyone because it knows no boundaries and thus he must do our best to stop it. There in lies the problem how do you stop Genocide? I have no idea but I do believe it must start with baby steps and get the global community involved with its prevention and not just American troops.

Mad Max said...

So you ask, Mad Max don’t you care about starving African babies?

Of course I care that people are suffering, but I also realize that our intervention will likely lead to more starving African babies, rather than less. Intervention would be a mistake. It would be a grave error because there is no lack of "humanitarian disasters" in this world, and the alleviation of all of them cannot be the goal of U.S. foreign policy. That would mean perpetual war on a global scale, waged by the U.S. against countless legions of enemies, including many yet to be born.
It is a recipe for endless trouble, increasing expenditures, and eventual bankruptcy, moral as well as financial. Because, in the end, we'll discover that the whole thing was cooked up by interests with hidden agendas, in order to profit financially or politically. The truth will come out: it always does.
We cannot help Africa, except by trading with it and increasing our humanitarian private efforts by NGO’s that mandate accountability to alleviate suffering. We must stop subsidizing corrupt governments that are run by common thieves. If we really want to help Africa, we'll stay out of their internal political affairs.
Finally, I hope that the irrationality of the "left"-wing do-gooder-can comprehend that sometimes less is more.

morgan marks said...

When we discussed this in class, a comment was made about how each person has certain causes they fight for, and it is not fair to make people fight for a cause such as Darfur, that they might not want to fight. But what if our country, as a whole, wants and believes it's right to fight? The brave men and women in the military are a part of the military because they choose to defend our country - no matter what our country decides. The point is, our country needs to decide now. Clinton said he regretted not going into Rwanda, so mad max, you're right, we didn't become involved in all those situations you listed - but maybe we should have. If our president and country will regret not helping/intervening, than shouldn't we go? The young men and women who volunteered to fight for their country volunteered to fight for our countries ideals, and if the genocide in Darfur counts as one of our ideals to uphold, those young lives would die defending their countrie's beliefs. I agree with hewhowould, genocide is everyone's problem no matter what oceans or land separates the places. So it is not only our duty - but others as well - the main problem I see now, is a decision cannot be made. Will we regret not going and do our countries ideals constitute fighting for the people in Darfur?

Mad Max said...

Ok lets take a look at the fact that there's not one single country in the world willing to seriously commit troops to Darfur. Not one. And unless we're talking about that, we're not talking about the real problem at all.

Here’s my solution to much of the woes that the “Dark Continent”.
The west needs to develop an African Relief Army that they control, even under UN support. This army would be an unaffiliated army in a friendly country, with bases, training, a small air force, and under strict control of African and Western powers. This army will be made up of African solders. American lives will not be lost to protect Africans.

The mission of the army would be providing security for UN relief efforts. Wherever there is starvation and war, you send in this army, secure the area and provide relief regardless of the antagonists. Make this army strictly neutral and strictly focused on helping relief efforts.
It will take a few years for it to become effective, but there is always genocide and starvation in Africa so there will be plenty of work for it.
If the need is urgent today, just outright buy a division from a reasonably friendly African country right away. Try Kenya, work a money deal to hire, outright a third of their army and use that as a nucleus. Put them under UN command, new uniforms, upgrade their equipment and go marching.

The perfect solution, minimal cost, no loss of American lives, and no more half witted liberal Hollywood types getting their pictures taken holding the starving babies of Africa.

Elle said...

woah, wait a minute, mad max. I understand your opposition to the loss of US lives in Sudan, and I understand your comment about how we cannot make the goal of US foreign policy to quell all disasters in the world. You have reasoning there. But with your plan for an African army? - I think that you have make some important and rather grave errors in judgment. First of all, why do you think that Africans deserve to loose their lives over this conflict. There are over 100 countries in Africa, and many of them are way beyond the scope of this problem. They have nothing to do with the genocide, so how can you justify sending them into Sudan to be killed. Are you suggesting that an African life is worth comparably less than that of an American? Secondly, I have a problem with the way in which you propose to go about getting troops. To simply buy a third of any country's army is reprehensible policy. You argue that innocent Americans who volunteer to defend the United States should not lose their lives, and I think that you have a point. But at the same time, you think that the UN should buy soldiers to fight in Sudan? Don't these soldiers consider the same consideration as the American soldiers? After all they are both human and both volunteered only for their country. From your proposed plan, mad max, I sense that you do not value an African soldier's life as the same as that of an American soldier. I wouldn't dream that you could be so caustic, so please...enlighten me.

Mad Max said...

Good God Elle. I’m not talking about a military draft or even using a military raised by a specific country. I’m talking about a for profit private force being employed by the UN, Western Countries and African Nations. These private forces would take on the guise of profit making enterprises that offer military advice as well as providing fighting forces. This is not my idea and is not new in fact the outsourcing of private military armies states has a long history dating back to ancient times in the Greek, Roman and Chinese’s civilizations. It’s kinda like those liberal hearted Hollywood types having a bodyguard as opposed to being protected night and day by local police forces.

Dr. D said...

Dear Mad Max: Some comments from the class:
what about neutrality of the "African force"? The whole idea of outsourcing the military is very bad -- who has jurisdiction over that? This is one of the problems in Iraq right now -- if they engage in conflict and shoot civilians, how are they prosecuted legally? Darfur is very complex, and too difficult to use a private security force.
Also, if the forces are just from Africa, the same cultural biases still apply, so just to reiterate the above point, it would be difficult to have an "unbiased African rapid deployment force".
Max: check out this url re. mercenary forces:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/global/main.jhtml?xml=/global/2005/01/14/wthat14.xml

Mad Max said...

I don’t understand your argument Dr. D.

Again I must say that the idea of outsourcing the military is not new. What exactly do you think the UN Peacekeeping Operations are all about? They are a lightly-armed military force that are only allowed to employ their weapons for self-defence. They are employed by the United Nations and deployed only when both sides engaged in the conflict agree to the UN’s involvement.

The United Nations is not the only organization to have authorized peacekeeping missions. Surly you remember when President Clinton utilized NATO forces in Kosovo. The problem here is that Africa is so screwed up, so corrupt that it has become a breeding ground for Human Rights Violators.

I believe that Africans must solve their own problems in order for those problems to truly go away. One way for this to happen is for the African nations to develop a peacekeeping unit that will work much like the UN Peacekeeping Operations. The difference being that will be used specifically in Africa, will answer to the AU, the UN and a delegation of representatives of Western Nations. This military unit will be made up of soilders from African countries. No American lives being lost on African soil so that some corrupt fat cat from Africa can get fatter.