Clash of the Titans LXVI: US Troops to Darfur
|In this corner, supporting deployment of American troops to Darfur, is Job!||And in this corner, opposing their use, is Chloe!|
I know many people chafe against America’s stint as the world’s police, but if that role were ever necessary, the situation in Darfur is the time. This is not the global equivalent of assault, grand theft auto, or arson. It is, my friends, murder one.
I’m an isolationist at heart, but not spurious in my desire to see American intervention in areas of political or religious upheaval. I think, at times, intervention is necessary, and I support our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan currently, and Haiti and Somalia in the past. But the sheer scope of the tragedy in Darfur — the injustice, the lawlessness, the bloodshed, and the fact that there are no cool heads to be put towards prevailing — gives this situation a sense of urgency on steroids.
Whatever compassionate, protective, empathetic part of the brain that responded to the great tsunami should also respond to this senseless loss of life. There are not sides to be delicately understood, or diplomatic measures to be massaged here. What is necessary is for the only nation with the willpower, the means, the expertise, and the track record — the United States of America — to send not only our soldiers and sailors to Sudan, but also our Marines.
This can’t be misconstrued as a search for oil or hegemonic dominance. This is an instance where the darkness of the world is winning, while we do nothing about it. I don’t speak of darkness in the Biblical sense — although I could focus this argument entirely on our need as a believing nation to alleviate the suffering there — but rather a darkness of ideology that continues to dim the value of life and the vigor of freedom all over the world. Our indifference — perhaps too strong a term for 2008, but which will most certainly be applied (perhaps accurately) years from now — to the plight sickens me on a personal level and frustrates me on a policy level.
What an opportunity — to reshape an image, reinvigorate our “brand,” and mold an emerging Africa in a better shape — while ending the slaughter (and that is not hyperbole) that should be casting a shadow over our nation’s collective conscience.
It’s a human rights crime. 200,000 to 400,000 dead, over two million displaced. Why the discrepancy in numbers? The chaos makes it impossible to carry out a proper count, but one thing is for sure — the situation is dire. So how could anyone say that the U.S. shouldn’t send troops to Darfur?
It’s simple — sustainability. History has taught us that the only way improvements can occur is through sustainable development. What does that mean? Consider intervention like a drug. Morphine is meant to alleviate pain. Unfortunately, if it’s administered without prudence and discretion, the recipient will become addicted, and the drug will destroy his life.
Likewise for international aid. For example, look at the 2007 report of the Millennium Development Goals. In most cases, there has been improvement, but it is, unfortunately, nominal. NGOs, much like foreign aid, can sometimes facilitate dependency and make it difficult for a country or group to overcome circumstances on their own. Or worse, they will fund the corrupt government, or opposition groups, while civilians continue to be slaughtered.
This is what I fear for Darfur. But aid is exactly what the displaced people are expecting. In a stunning article written in 2007, Amber Henshaw interviewed six people within the camps, asking them questions like, “What do you think is needed to reduce, and hopefully stop, the fighting and killing completely?,” and “What do you think could most change your situation right now?” The answer was always, “Protection from the international community.” The six Sudanese interviewees were convinced that nothing would change until troops, whether from the U.S. or another country, were deployed to shield them from the Janjaweed.
Millions of dollars have been poured into developing countries; yet, as the MDG report testifies, the change is negligible in relation to the resources. Perhaps it’s heartless to say that the Sudanese people have to do it themselves. But the fact of the matter is that history tells us they do.