Genocide for various communities in Iraq is now the official policy of The New York Times editorial board, as Jules Crittenden brilliantly shows ( http://www.julescrittenden.com/2007/07/08/genocide-prefered ) and as the editor of Editor & Publisher endorses. The reasoning behind this policy is too boring to recapitulate here - but my question is this. Why does the anti-Bush, pro-Ba’ath, anti-American alliance invest so much in protesting genocide in Darfur (as I - pro-Bush, antifascist and pro-American - do also protest) when they don’t mind it at all - in fact, they recommend it - in Iraq?
The differences between the two cases are, as best as I can puzzle them out, the following:
In Darfur, we can do nothing about genocide without either unilateral military action or enlisting Sudan’s economic enablers like the Republic of China - and to a lesser extent, Warren Buffett - to join us in meaningful economic sanctions. Moreover, except for having tolerated it - along with the rest of the Western, African and Islamic worlds -for so long, we have no particular responsibility for it. In Darfur we did not cause it and we cannot - in terms that are acceptable to the bien pensants - prevent it - so we are safe in denouncing genocide there.
In Iraq, however, we are in trouble. We did once stop genocide. We stopped Saddam’s “hard” genocidal policies implemented against whomever he pleased, such as the southern Shi’ite community - by our invasion in 2003. The mass graves give testament to this count - in the hundreds of thousands. We also brought to an end the “soft” genocide against the non-Party Iraqi population caused by the sanctions regime imposed by the Gulf War’s irresolute resolution, with uncounted numbers of children maimed and killed by starvation (and then, it turns out, denied even what relief could be afforded them by a corrupt United Nations sell-out of “oil-for-food”).
Our departure, proclaims the Times, may well and probably will mark the start of a new genocide. So why is the genocide about to happen so welcome to the Times and its readers? Because it is the inverse of the Darfur case. We can prevent it - by giving our Army the chance to finish the job it is so nobly, if belatedly, engaged in. We would bear responsibility for it - by, once again, abandoning a job we were forced by Saddam’s actions unfinished, as the Gulf War allies did in 1991 at the urging of the elder President Bush and General Colin Powell. In Iraq we would cause genocide and can prevent it - but only by a policy that our bien pensants find unacceptable.
Perhaps the problem is not with President Bush, his non-existent lies and his many mistakes, but with our tendency to listen to the self-regarding theories of our bien-pensants. To the many Americans who are rightly protesting against the Darfur scandal - you are about to have your moral standing cut out from under you. I wonder - shall you notice? I invite you -will you notice?
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