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Justin Raimondo: What About Darfur?

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    What About Darfur? The case against intervention by Justin Raimondo May 1, 2006 http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8922 Whenever I speak on campus, I
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2006
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      What About Darfur?
      The case against intervention
      by Justin Raimondo
      May 1, 2006
      http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8922


      Whenever I speak on campus, I always get the "But what about Darfur?"
      question. This usually comes in tandem with the inevitable Holocaust
      question, which goes something like this: "Yes, I agree with your
      opposition to the Iraq war, and your anti-interventionist sentiments
      in general, but what about our moral responsibility to prevent another
      Holocaust?" This is usually accompanied by a paean to "the good war,"
      i.e., World War II, and the assertion that "of course" we had to
      intervene (and not just because of Pearl Harbor).

      I will spare the reader my detailed answer to enthusiasts of "the good
      war," except to say that if we hadn't intervened in World War II at
      precisely the moment Hitler turned on Stalin, the likelihood of the
      two totalitarian monsters destroying each other is a bit more than
      mere speculation. I will also note that the Holocaust, far from being
      prevented by World War II, was instead hastened and accelerated by the
      conflict. American intervention in the European war had nothing to do
      with the Holocaust, did nothing to prevent it, and may have worsened it.

      In any case, to get back to the case of Darfur: my questioner, I
      should point out, is usually not some warmongering neocon, but the
      most well-meaning of all lefties, who is savagely critical of the
      neoconservative agenda of "democratizing" the Middle East at gunpoint,
      but, when it comes to Darfur, all discernment, all the lessons of the
      past, are thrown out the window, and emotions take over. It is like an
      alcoholic, who, after a long abstinence, quaffs a bit of wine, or has
      half a beer: after just a little sip, all caution is abandoned, and
      they find him the next day, passed out in the street.

      Darfur, where as many as 300,000 may have been killed, has become an
      international cause célèbre and rallying cry for the internationalist
      liberals, the kind who pride themselves on having a conscience and who
      constantly invoke the tragedy of Darfur as a potential model for
      "humanitarian intervention." They think that they are different from
      the neocons in kind because they advocate intervention for a "good"
      cause, because they are motivated by kindness, benevolence, and all
      those other liberal internationalist virtues that make them such so
      much better people than Richard Perle and Bill Kristol.

      This shows that whatever foreign policy debate occurs in this country
      is not about the policy – almost no one questions the wisdom and
      absolute necessity of global interventionism – but about motivation:
      President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice care about oil, money,
      Israel, and self-glorification, not necessarily in that order. We care
      about helping poor blacks, stopping genocide, and dispensing American
      treasure to the underprivileged albeit deserving peoples of the Third
      World.

      To get a little perspective on this, let's look at what the invaluable
      John Laughland, a writer and longtime observer of the War Party, has
      to say:
      "The Darfur crisis is following a pattern which is so well-worn now
      that it has almost become routine. Saturation reporting from a crisis
      region; emergency calls for help broadcast on the electronic media
      (such as the one recently on the BBC Radio 4 flagship 'Today'
      programme); televised pictures of refugees; lurid stories of 'mass
      rapes', which are surely designed to titillate as much to provoke
      outrage; reproachful evocations of the Rwandan genocide; demands that
      something must be done ('How can we stand idly by?', etc.); editorials
      in the Daily Telegraph calling for a return to the days of Rudyard
      Kipling's benevolent imperialism; and, finally, the announcement that
      plans are indeed being drawn up for an intervention."

      Writing in 2004, Laughland averred that Western intervention is
      "inevitable," and it looks like he was right on the money. The
      Washington Post carried a story, prominently featured in the Sunday
      edition, about the "growing outcry" to "do something" about Sudan:

      "Massive 'Stop Genocide' rallies are planned on the Mall and across
      the nation today to urge the Bush administration to take stronger
      action to end the violence in Sudan's Darfur region. Thousands of
      people are expected to converge on Washington, including 240 busloads
      of activists from 41 states, local and national politicians and such
      celebrity speakers as actor George Clooney, Holocaust survivor and
      author Elie Wiesel, and Olympic speed skater Joey Cheek."

      While early reports of plans for the demonstration reported an
      expected turnout of 100,000-plus, the rally permit obtained by the
      "Save Darfur Coalition" estimated 10,000-15,000, and the actual
      numbers were far less. Reuters generously reported "several
      thousands," but, never mind that: the sparse numbers were magnified by
      the star power of the celebrity speakers. Piggybacking on titans of
      Hollywood and the world of sports like Clooney and Cheek, Democratic
      party bigwigs – including Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and House
      Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California – sought to extract
      political benefits from this supposedly spontaneous upsurge of
      interventionist sentiment.

      That, only a few days before, Osama bin Laden had made Sudan the focus
      of another of his tirades against the West – warning the Muslim world
      that Darfur would be the next entry point for the "Crusader-Zionists"
      – was surely a coincidence, albeit an enormously convenient one for
      the motley collection of liberal do-gooders, Hollywood glamour-pusses,
      and Christian zealots who make up the "Save Darfur Coalition."
      President Bush was glad to endorse the rally: "For those of you who
      are going out to march for justice, you represent the best of our
      country," Bush said at a meeting with persons described as "Darfur
      advocates" in news reports.

      Before we send tens of thousands more American troops into a very
      troubled region of the world, let us examine what these "Darfur
      advocates" are advocating. Both Tony Blair and retired U.S. general
      Wesley Clark have argued in favor of intervention, raising the
      "successful" war and occupation in Kosovo as a model. That was one war
      we didn't hear much about from the great mass of present-day "antiwar"
      protesters, who apparently thought that attacking a country that
      represented no threat to the U.S. and had never attacked us was okay,
      so long as it was done by a Democratic president. By going into Darfur
      under the rubric of "humanitarianism," the War Party can sell to
      anti-Bush liberals the idea of opening up another front in the Muslim
      world.

      The Dubai brouhaha showed how easily anti-Arab sentiment can be
      exploited on the ostensible "Left" and utilized by the War Party to
      demonstrate their effective control of both major political parties –
      and distance themselves from an increasingly unpopular administration.
      The Darfur campaign is another example of their strategic shift: in
      both instances, instead of following President Bush's lead, they stood
      in opposition to the White House. Up until this point, the Bush team
      has been skeptical of getting involved in Sudan. As the Bush White
      House drags its feet in provoking the Iranians into war, the War Party
      is turning increasingly to the Democrats – and the ostensible
      liberal-Left – for support. This is beginning to pay off, as Hillary
      Clinton tries to out-hawk the GOP on the Iranian nukes issue, and
      leading Democrats take up the banner of Darfur.

      From a realistic point of view, there is nothing U.S. military
      intervention can accomplish in Sudan except to make things far worse.
      Sudan would soon become Iraq II, with an influx of jihadists and a
      nationalistic reaction against what would become, after a short time,
      a de facto occupation very similar to what the Iraqis have to endure.
      The rebel groups, aided by Sudan's neighbors, such as Ethiopia and
      Eritrea, would metastasize, more weapons would pour into the region,
      and the probable result would be a humanitarian disaster on a much
      larger scale. Intervention, in short, would lead to the exact opposite
      of its intended result – a principle that, as a libertarian, I hold is
      true in economics as well as foreign policy.

      But you don't have to be a libertarian to see the folly of
      interventionism in the case of Darfur, or Iraq. In the latter, it is
      the presence of the U.S. occupation force that empowers the rising
      anti-U.S. insurgency: the same principle would operate in Sudan. There
      is no reason to believe that we would be welcomed with open arms by
      the Sudanese any more than we were by the Iraqis. An initial euphoria
      – some of it staged – would soon be supplanted by a growing
      resentment, and the influx of jihadists would destabilize the entire
      region, requiring increased U.S. and "allied" forces.

      "Saving" Darfur would mean opening up another theater in what the
      neocons refer to as "World War IV." Spreading outward from Iraq, this
      global conflict will pit the U.S. against a wide variety of enemies,
      both freelance and state-sponsored, swelling the ranks of terrorist
      outfits and inviting further attacks on U.S. soil. This could be
      construed as a "humanitarian" intervention only in the Bizarro World
      inhabited by our leaders, including those hailing from the
      entertainment industry.

      A coalition of liberal internationalists, opportunistic politicians of
      both parties, and the usual neocon suspects have banded together to
      lure us into yet another quagmire, this one in Africa. This new
      crusade is so imbued with the aura of humanitarian uplift that anyone
      who questions the wisdom of intervening in a complicated and obscure
      civil war will be denounced as a "racist" who doesn't give a hoot
      about Africa.

      Oh, so you're against intervening in Darfur, eh? Don't you care about
      starving African babies? That our intervention will likely as not lead
      to more starving African babies, rather than less, is in my opinion
      indubitably true, yet even if it were not, intervention would still 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 have to
      mean perpetualwarfare, 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 disparate
      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 to alleviate suffering. The least we can
      do, however, is to stop encouraging the worst, most illiberal elements
      by subsidizing governments like those of Ethiopia and Eritrea, run by
      common thugs paid to do America's bidding. If we really want to help
      Africa, we'll stay out of their internal political affairs, start
      granting more visas from that continent, and get over our own sense of
      moral superiority that lets us imagine we can somehow uplift the
      entire world to the level of a typical American suburb.

      Finally, if this doesn't underscore the unselfconscious irrationality
      of the "left"-wing do-gooder-Hollywood wing of the War Party, then
      nothing does.

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