Thursday, July 29, 2004

Useless Idiots

The "commentary in today's "Asia Times" makes it clear who is responsible for the ethnic slaughter in Sudan.

It's George W. Bush, of course.

The sad truth is that thousands of people in Darfur have died, and many more probably will and at least in part, because of George W Bush's and Tony Blair's failed adventure in Iraq. Two of the states militarily and logistically best equipped to intervene in Sudan have in effect ruled themselves out even as effective advocates of a rescue mission.

The world can't "trust" America and Britain anymore. We're to be shunned and ignored because we liberated Iraq from Saddam and are busy trying to give it back to its people as a free and democratic society. Because of that we're the bad boys who have to sit in time out for a generation or so. And if the world goes to hell in the interval, everyone knows who's to blame.

The piece goes on to compare Bush to Jack the Ripper.

One can indeed despair of the Arab world's tolerance for its own rulers' barbarities. But we have to admit that after the war on Iraq, the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the US's total protection for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's pogroms in Gaza, and the xenophobic anti-Muslim and anti-Arab outbursts in the U.S., it is hardly surprising that many governments and their people across the world will cut some slack for any Arab regime in the face of US "concern" at its behavior.

Yes, one can indeed lament the few idiotic American brutes who for a few nights acted out their sadistic fantasies in Abu Ghraib. But at the same time, one can also apply a couple of brain cells and recognize the different between a cultural aberration, condemned and punished by the nation, and radical Islam's systematic religious policy of genocide that has gone on for hundreds of years.

"Sharon's pogroms"? Oh, please! The Israelis are efficient. If they wanted to hold an "organized extermination" (look up "pogrom") Gaza wouldn't be the teeming slum it is. Systematically decapitating the poisonous Hamas snake that intends to kill you does not count as a "pogrom."

"Anti-Arab outbursts in the U.S."? Oh, yes, the black Sudanese will just have to die because some loudmouths in the U.S. sometimes write stupid things about Arabs in AOL chat rooms. That's why so many Muslims are fleeing America, and none will dare to set foot in this country. Oops, except for the 7,000 or so who are moving as a lump to my state even as you read this. Well, but then there are plenty of black Africans clamoring to get under the rule of Arab purist thugs in Darfur and plenty of Jews queueing up to move to Saudi Arabia, so, moral equivalency, you know.

It might be possible somewhere in this article to mention the truth that Arabs and Muslims in this land of immigrants generally had it no worse than other ethnicities, until their brothers across the sea got it into their heads that killing Americans by the thousands was a legitimate policy. And that Islamic organizations in the U.S. seem to have been more interested in decrying "xenophobia" than terrorism. And that even with all that, Arab-Americans are less oppressed than Arabs who stay home in, say, Syria or Yemen.

The writer then points out why no other world power or regional coalition can, or will, do what needs to be done in Darfur.

The United Nations itself is not designed to conduct robust operations that could involve serious fighting, which is why it often "franchises" them. Ideally, the Arab League should act, but it will not. The African Union has made a start, but it is hopelessly under-resourced, and similar regional operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia were much-mitigated successes.

It would be good if some of the stronger Asian powers, even if it involved North Atlantic Treaty Organization and US backup, could get involved, but Pakistan being Muslim -- and India not being Muslim -- could complicate that. Indeed, Japan and South Korea, not having any dog in the fight at all, as former US secretary of state James Baker once put it, would be ethically preferable, if their militaries were up to it.

Failing that, perhaps in this case, this is a matter on which the European Union could be given the blue-flag franchise, and especially Germany, whose clean credentials on the Iraq war clear it of the Crusader connotations.

But one thing is very clear: the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and other active "coalition" partners should stay in the background, at best offering logistics and funding and the most discreet diplomatic support. And in a few years, maybe they will emerge from probation as good global citizens and be listened to once again.

Clear the way; here comes Germany. Only Germany can save the day because only Germany never did anything expansionist in North Africa, so, ...

... whoops. There goes that idea. As if you could have convinced the German Greens to go along with it anyhow.

And there the article ends. Women continue to be raped, children murdered or condemned to slow death by starvation, men burned alive in front of their market stalls. Ethnic cleansing, enslavement, religious terrorism. But by the end of an opinion piece that started out being about "Darfur: The case for intervention," Darfur and all its inhabitants have disappeared from view. They're gone from the prose, just as they will soon be gone from the face of the earth, if this writer's worldview prevails.

And that's too damn bad, but as is known to any good global citizen, who has been taught to think like this writer, the only real problem is always America. And of course those slaughtered Africans -- most of whom (Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes) also are Muslims -- will have to realize that, too. Even though Arabs rode them down to the dust and killed them, it was all George Bush's fault. Explain it to them; I'm sure they'll understand.

Jack the Ripper indeed.