Hogan's Alley

Monday, May 01, 2006

Darfur Demonstrators, Let's Do Something, As Long As It's Not Too Effective

There was a demonstration in Washington yesterday during which a number of celebrities and some of the usual suspects, eg. Al Sharpton, George Clooney, called for the US to do more to end what is clearly a genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan. The question is, what exactly do the organizers want the Bush administration to do? Nothing in the NY Times article linked to above provides a clue.

Save Darfur, the organization that organized the march clearly wants visitors to its website to write the White House to insist the President, "support a stronger multi-national force to protect the civilians of Darfur."

At a website called Darfur: A Genocide We Can Stop, they are more specific. They want Bush to:

Send a high-level envoy to broker a just peace accord between the Sudanese government and rebels;
Support an international peacekeeping effort in Darfur;
Increase pressure on the Sudanese government through economic sanctions, including a ban on oil exports until the crisis is solved.
What clearly emerges from both sites is that there is clear dissatisfaction with the inept UN "peacekeeping" efforts now in place. But beyond that one senses a certain level of ambiguity.

Surely the most effective way to stop the killing would be for a robust NATO force, probably led or heavily supported by the US to insert itself on the ground in Darfur at once. While there, the military pressure on the Sudanese government would surely be enough to force a settlement. But this direct, effective approach would not fit in with the same crowd's isolationist dislike of the projection of American/Western force into foreign entanglements.

In the meantime, they seem to be reduced to expressing their fury and impotence. They question the pay grade of the diplomats engaged in the crisis and to urge the same economic sanctions which proved so marvelously successful with Sadam's government in Iraq. The human stakes in Darfur are too enormous for such pussyfooting around.