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Thursday, April 12, 2007

American Left and Ann Coulter Share Insensitive Attitude Towards Genocide

"These people can't even wrap up genocide ... We've been hearing about this slaughter in Darfur forever -- and they still haven't finished. The aggressors are moving like termites across that country. It's like genocide by committee. Who's running this holocaust in Darfur, FEMA?"

Those are words Ann Coulter used to describe genocide in Darfur. Kind of makes "nappy-headed hos" sound lame. We can't shrug our shoulders at genocide, bigotry's ultimate byproduct. Unfortunately, many of those who advocate a timed withdrawal from Iraq are doing just that.

"These people are going to kill each other, they have been doing it for thousands of years, it's what they do, and it is the darkest side of humanity."

"I'm not saying they don't feel pain and it's not going to be horrible but it's just what going to have to happen to bring this to conclusion."

Those are words used yesterday to justify our withdrawal. Good people made those remarks, but they dehumanize all of us.

"Blood thirsty savages" is the term many Manifest Destiny Americans used to refer to our native population. It justified a lot of our own savagery.

Now, a similar misperception, is the rationale for an Iraq withdrawal. Their kind is like that. So we should just leave and let Sunni children defend themselves against what another faction views as the ultimate solution. That's what's going to happen and we can't stop it?

Not in my world.

We've already looked the other way once, in Rwanda. Hearing the death screams of children being chopped by machetes is the most obscene thing I've ever experienced - and it was on a nightly news broadcast. It's why I stopped watching TV. We're trying to stop the genocide in Darfur, but need to do much more.

We can't leave Iraq. At least not 'till we're certain it won't result in a bloodbath. Otherwise, there's little difference between the American left and Ann Coulter. A Pontius Pilate foreign policy is the last thing this country needs.

I believe those who say Iraqis will kill each other anyway have a sick and twisted view of humanity. They say I'm a racist. I'll accept that label if it saves a few lives.

Genocide expert Samantha Power suggests that, if unable to stabilize Iraq, we could preempt genocide in advance of our departure by helping residents relocate. We have this obligation, not as Americans, but as human beings.


R Myeen-ki said...

Evil-Ann is as bad as it gets but she has a good point.

This Sudanese/Darfur situation used to be called the Sudanese Civil War; it was the Arab North vs
The "Animist/Christian South."

The "Janjaweed" continues to be portrayed as the bad guys. There's never any film of the alleged violence. So, what's the riff?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, perceived insensitivities aside, there's a 3 leter word that sums up the root cause of our involvement in this Arab internal family squabble:


-Chris Casey

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, I'll buy that. I think that's why we invaded. But I can't go along w/ any w/drawal that winks at genocide. I get two responses to that: 1) They're like that (unlike us); amd 2) I'm being a "racist" for thinking that is possible and imposing my human ideals on the Middle East.

Actaully, a genocide is going on now. It's just a slow bleed instead of wholesale slaughter. All the evidence points at that. As human beings, we have an obligation to stop that. We can't just shrug our shoulders and walk away.

Tom Foolery said...

They are this mess because of our meddling. I'll give you that. However, talking about slow bleeds, what do you think will happen to our soldiers if we stay there forever. Also, as long as we are there the rest of the world will stand by and do nothing. Should we keep paying the price for Bush's insane decision to go in initially? + There is no easy answer obviously.

Tom Foolery said...

I meant to say, They are in this mess due to our meddling. We don't have to pull out completely but we should redeploy to a safer area. Even Hillary has said this. Not all Demos support immediate withdrawal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom Foolery,

I think LVDem said it best a few days ago. It's very complicated and the situation does not lend itself to 30 second sound bites. "Stay the course" and "immediate withdrawal" do not cut it.

I agree this mess is largely Bush's fault. But we elected him ... well, at least once we elected him.

I think we have to remember who we are. WE also have to come together, as much as is possible. I think everyone would like us out of there. I don't think any of us could smile at the prospect of death for the large Sunni population. I hope we do the right thing.

Chris Miller said...

It is hard to say where to start with you. First let me say that I agree with you on the matter of genocide and Dafur. I think that the reason we are not in Dafur is that we have decided that it is not the greatest danger to us. Like you, I was sick about what went on in Rawnda but I would say, where is the UN on this matter. Africa, as a continent, is a mess. It is hard to get a handle on it. 59 countries with most of the folks being more loyal to their tribal leaders then to a central government, Central governments that are as corrupt as all outdoors. AIDS destroying the continent. Dictators tossing out the white farmers. I taught this area of the world and I will tell you that I do not see much hope for the continentl and the people there. They do not have the means to resolve their situation. With people in this nation unwilling to stand fast in Iraq, why would you expect them to stand fast in a place like Dafur.
As to the matter of oil as the reason for being in Iraq, you might want to google John Lewis Gaddis + Yale. Go to his February 2005 aticle in Foreign Affairs. Now Gaddis is a liberal professor but his article, and there is supposedly a book coming, is supportive of the Bush Strategy. He points out the mistakes of the Bush administration, all of them have merit, while telling you that whoever replaces will be following Bush's strategy, a strategy that he refers to as the third great strategy of our nation.
As to Al Gore winning in 2000, your a big boy and you know how the electoral college works. You also know that it was Gore who took the entire matter to court. Now our elections look like something we would find in the third world.

Tom Foolery said...

Bush strategy? What a sick joke..

Anonymous said...

There's also the possibility that we pull out and the whole Middle East ends up being pulled into a war. Not likely, but...
What hath we wrought here?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Our ambivalence in Rwanda was a horrible mistake. Bill Clinton, and I know you're no fan, has said as much.

The US not only failed to send in troops, but actively sought to have UN peacekeepers removed. When all the smoke had cleared and details emerged, Clinton wanted to know, "How did this happen?" It happenedg largely because we did nothing. Believe it or not, it was the French, with UN backing, who finally steped in.

In Darfur, the US is taking a much stronger stance than we did in Rwanda, and is trying to persuade the UN to put pressure on the Sudanese. China has business interests in the area and detests sanctions as a matter of principle. But what's really ironic is that while Team Bush urges a diplomatic solution thru the UN, some Dems advocate airstrikes against Sudanese military assets. We are at least speaking out in Darfur, and did not plant the seeds in which genocide is a possibiity.

In Iraq, we have sown these seeds. We removed a repressive regime, but failed to recognize that in doing so, we were creating the very instability we intended to prevent.

I read what Gaddis had to say about Bush being a grand strategist, laying out a policy of democratization in the Middle East and nuclear deterrence. I'm not convinced these are "grand strategy" principles, and it's far too early to say whether subsequent presidents will follow that strategy.

But I'll say this much. Bush is not a detail man, and it shows. Far too many mistakes have been made in iraq and Afghanistan. And they are so bad there is no way we can extricate ourselves without the entire area blowing up in our face. It may be that we can reploy troops once the killing stops, but we're stuck.

We can make our points and counterpoints about this day and night. But I doubt seriously that any new president, Democrat or Republican, will allow that area to explode. Does this mean "stay the course?" Not necessarily. Active use of diplomacy is a better option. But we need that area to be stable. That's reality.

Thanks for your views, Chris. We are on differnt poles when it comes to politics, but I apprciate your insight.

Greendogdem said...

The simple fact is none of this matters the point is we are destroying our military, and Al Queda isn't lifting a finger to do it but we are giving them credit for it. Both giving them a propaganda benefit and damaging us while they put out no effort to do it. If we get attacked in america it's because Al queda playing on Bush's ego and kept us in iraq for so long. While they built up around the world with out having to deal with us. Because we had tied ourselves down in a stupid expensive war in iraq the same way the Russians did in Afghanistan in the 70's

BobKincaid said...

Perhaps you're right, and I'm not being sarcastic when I say that. We started this filthy mess in 2003. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly shocked and awed.

Maybe our penance is to stay in it and be the targets in a macabre carnival shooting gallery, marching back and forth, one soldier being shot down to be replaced by another standing up. Again and again and again and again; for a month, for a year, for a decade, perhaps for a century or more. Perhaps that is the secret formula for uniting the Iraqis and ending their civil war.

Perhaps by staying and paying George W. Bush's penance with middle class blood and lower class guts, the United States can once and for all learn the futility of Republican bloodlust and moneylust and oil-lust and control-lust and all the other vile gluttonies of the American right wing.

If we stay, though, we'll eventually need a draft. Is it OK if we start sending some senators' and congressmen's and presidents' sons and daughters? And send 'em just the way others were sent? Improperly trained, poorly armed, pathetically armored. And can we actually start SEEING the butcher's bill?

On the other hand, I take the position that when one is doing evil, and one wishes to not BE evil, one must, upon recognizing the evil, stop doing the evil. That means leaving Iraq. Yesterday.

The fatal flaw in any assumption about a continued American presence in Iraq is the assumption that our being there can EVER serve any constructive good. It can't. You don't let the mechanic who screwed up your car repairs try to fix his mistake. You let someone else try. We're in the same situation.

We must leave Iraq, either voluntarily or by crushing defeat. If we would avoid the latter, and all the freight it carries, we must admit our mistake and ask the rest of the world to step in and fix it. There's a possibility that might work. There is not even a gambler's chance that our staying will lead to any sort of "stability," let alone a democracy.

I wish it was otherwise. It isn't. Even Bush's generals agree there's no military solution to Iraq.

Bush is in his endgame now, and it's a personal one. His only goal now is to stave off our exit until the "loss" can be blamed on the next president.

It's a cynical game they're playing and it's a hateful one.

Chris Miller said...

You are correct when you note that Bush is not a detail man but then that has been the case with most presidents. I beleive it is particularly true since Jimmy Carter who locked himslf in the White House during the Iran hostage crisis,. Carter simply said to hell with the rest of the issues.
I believe, as Gingrich observed, that other then the military no other Bureau of the government is involved in the war. If we are going to win here, the entire government needs to be engaged.
As to future presidents being engaged here and following the Bush strategy, that is a given. First and foremost who will bring peace to this area, China, Russia, France? No other nation in the world can do what we can do. We fought the Revolutionary War that started in 1775 and ended with a Treaty in 1783. We started a debate in 1781 on the type of government we would have, operated under a Confederacy until 1787 and wrote the Constitution in that year. Keep in mind that a lot of the stuff on the Road To Independence went back to the French and Indian War. Let's say there was a bit of turmoil in the land over a period of 50 years and now we want it all said and done with Eden in the Middle East after a piddling 4 years. Instantaneous gratification is the way of life of the people in this nation.
What is particularly sad is that we all know that the history of governments based on democracy is good. Democracies are peaceful and prosperous. Why would we blind ourselves to this truth? I tell you now if we do not resolve the situation in the Middle East, we will end up resolving it later and by that time, if we continue down the path of political correctness, we might find ourselve in the position of having to fight knowing that we are going to lose.

LVDem said...

I had a long series of car rides yesterday and did some thinking on this matter and the rhetoric of it all. Bush (and also McCain), in his rhetoric, is talking about the terrorists. "We can't let the terrorists win". That rhetoric isn't rhetoric that indicates a desire to stave off genocide. That's rhetoric to kill terrorists. Nothing about saving the lives of Iraqi religious sects. Death is the motivation.

Here is what I find interesting: Bernie can be described as left of center (and possibly out of his mind, but that has little to do with politics). The underlying goals that you have (preventing genocide) are vastly different than that of the hard right (beating the terrorists). Bernie is interested in promoting a fundamentally good outcome. The right wants death. I point this out b/c I'm convinced that somebody is going to take your convictions and twist them to say "see, he suports Bush' plan." As young and optimistic as I am, I've come to expect that out of the right.

I see your concerns as having a moral dimension that I wish others could see. Damn it, we shouldn't have caused this mess, but now we have to clean it up. What's really sad is that it's going to take another 3 years (when the next president is in office) before we have an opportunity to clean up the mess.

Another note: I wish we could sell the same sentiments (taking care of others) in how we handle domestic affairs. By that I mean it's great to take care of the poor and refuge of the world, but we have similar problems right here in our own back yards. Poverty, poor education, murder... but Iraq is more important for the reason that Chris pointed out above.

LVDem said...

"Let's say there was a bit of turmoil in the land over a period of 50 years and now we want it all said and done with Eden in the Middle East after a piddling 4 years."

Going to point out some problems with that statement. 50 years... try since Moses parted the Red Sea.

4 years... didn't Clinton pursue heavy diplomatic efforts (various success, various failures). What about that war in 1990? This isn't a new thing brought on by Bush.

When it's all said and done (hopefully in my life time... and I'm young), Bush will be a blip on the radar screen of this whole episode: an 8 year crusade that brought the world to the verge of World War III and genocide at a scale perhaps worse than the extermination of Jews under Hitler. It will be viewed the same way as Clinton's efforts (some success, some failures). The real solutions will be forged by my generation.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I don't care whether someone says that my view on this matter makes me a Republican or a Bushie. I don't even mind being told I'm a "racist" for thinking that we have to stay to stop certain genocide. If a burning desire to minimize human suffering in that region makes me that way, then so be it. We aren't goping to solve problems like this unless we stop disparaging each other and start listening.

McCain's "we can't let the terrorists win" argument does not persuade me. His genocide argument, however, is widely ignored.

Chris Miller said...

Would you not agree that killing the insurgents will make sure that the genocide does not happen? As I noted previously, we sufferd in this nation for about 50 years before getting our act somewhat together with a Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Muslim world has none of this and indeed they have been killing one another for centuries having divided after the death of Mohammed. While some might disagree that Bush does not have a strategy for this area of the world I would beg to differ. The intent was to put democratic forms of government into Iraq and Afghanistan and squeeze Iran. Gaddis points this out in his Foreign Policy essay of 2005. It is an excellent article.
As to Clinton's foreign policy moments, what were they? In his first inaugural address he had 164 words on foreign policy. His aides have indicated he was not interested in foreign policy. His war in Kosovo was from 35 thousand feet in the air so that no lives were lost. He went to war there without UN support. Our so called friends did not stop him, Kosovo was really their war, because he was a socialist just like them.
As for seeing an end to all of this in your lifetime, I wouldn't hold my breath. One of the biggest errors in Iraq is not putting the full force and effort, all federal departments, behind the war. It is a point being made by Newt Gingrich. The military won the war. They are not there to do the rebuilding. We have government agencies better equipped to do that. Where are they?