Friday, May 06, 2005

Darfur Drawn

Human Rights watch has posted images of drawings by young children who have escaped from the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region:

On mission along the border of Chad and Darfur, Human Rights Watch researchers gave children notebooks and crayons to keep them occupied while they spoke with the children’s parents. Without any instruction or guidance, the children drew scenes from their experiences of the war in Darfur: the attacks by the Janjaweed, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad.
Here are a couple of examples:

Human Rights Watch: What’s happening here?
Mahmoud: These men in green are taking the women and the girls.
Human Rights Watch: What are they doing?
Mahmoud: They are forcing them to be wife.

I am looking at the sheep in the wadi. I see Janjaweed coming—quickly, on horses and camels, with Kalashnikovs—shooting and yelling, 'kill the slaves, kill the blacks.'

Nur: This is my brother. He is hiding in Sudan. He is not happy.
Human Rights Watch: Why?
Nur: He wants to learn, to go to school, but he has nothing. Our school was burned.

John Hinderaker of PowerLine comments:
Of course, I still don't have much to say about Darfur. My view is that ordinarily, the United States should intervene abroad only when our own national interests are at stake, and, in addition, humanitarian interests are served, or at least not compromised. It's hard to see any purpose other than the purely humanitarian in stepping into Sudan. That would, ideally, make it a job for the United Nations, I suppose, but the U.N. doesn't do anything that useful--it's too busy denouncing America and Israel--and, truth be told, many U.N. members don't especially disapprove of the conduct of the government of Sudan [...]
There was a time, while I was struggling to make the transition form Liberal to Conservative thinking, when I would have reluctantly agreed with this sentiment for consistency's sake. It makes sense to limit US involvement in light of the fact that resources are inevitably scarce and we can't be everywhere at once.

However, I now believe, as noted below that the Liberals got this one partly right. It is in the long-term interest of the US to put a stop to tyranny and terror, even if there is no immanent threat or pressing national interest. Furthermore, relying on the deliberative facilities offered by the UN is only viable if we can trust the member nations to adhere to civilized standards, which is manifestly not the case. (This is where the Liberals get it wrong.)

If the Bush doctrine of defeating terror through establishing free countries is to be effective, there must be a point at which we are willing to acknowledge that recalcitrant nations must be confronted, even if they do not pose an immediate threat. If US power had been used to intervene in Sudan when Khartoum was oppressing the Southern region, the genocide in Darfur may have been prevented. In this sense, my assertion that "Bush has taken the liberal foreign policy recommendations of the '80s and actually made them work" is diminished by the continuing crisis in Sudan.

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