Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Is Darfur no concern then?

Michael Barone steps up to the plate and begins attacking two Democrats over the issue of Darfur. Precisely, the Darfur region of Sudan where large portions of the indigenous population have either been slaughtered, raped or displaced. One Democrat, Senator Biden wants military intervention. The other, Senator Feingold, wants a greater U.N. role. In both cases, Barone argues how impossible that would be. He also implies the hypocrisy of their arguments vis a vis Iraq. His column appears in Creators Syndicate and was republished in the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington.

Well now, let us take a shot or two at some of Barone's assertions. I haven't read, yet, the Iraq Study Group report. At some point I should try to acquire it and read it for myself. What Barone declares is that a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would hurt our national interest--ref. the above report. And that we happened to be in Iraq strictly on a security basis. That was certainly part of GW's arguments, but so were rape rooms. In short, Iraq was also about humanitarian concerns.

Now, on the "security" reasons for our being in Iraq. Make that GW's hysteria about what he thought was true and would be true about Saddam Hussein's government and what it meant for the western world! Europe, Great Britain and the U.S. However, the only nations that faced any real threat from Hussein: Israel, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Since our invasion of Iraq, for humanitarian concerns, possibly oil and claims of WMD; there have been plenty of reports about opportunism from Iran (an enemy for better than 20 years), Saudi Arabia (supposedly a trading ally), foreign fighters passing through Syria (who is also a declared enemy to "western interests" esp. Lebanon) and, of course, Al Qaeda. Precisely, the sort of opportunism that since we invaded Iraq, we can find ourselves doing more than fighting the disaffected in Iraq. The disaffected Ba'athists, Sunnis, radical Shi'ites. We can find ourselves fighting people who receive plenty of armaments and money from beyond Iraqi borders from exactly the nations and organizations above mentioned. The question I would certainly have for Barone at this point, where is it to our national interest that we have yet to curtail Iraqi on Iraqi violence that has left many 10s of thousands, to maybe hundreds of thousands dead or displaced? That we have yet to ask of Iraq's neighbors why they supply weapons and fighters that ultimately feed into the upheaval and civil war in Iraq that also kills our own forces. Iraq, at this point, is a "Darfur" in its own right, and genocide (religiously speaking) is already a fact of life in that country. Our attempts at "democratizing" Iraq as an example to the Middle East and Al Qaeda hasn't accomplished creating those "play ground rules" that Barone seemed to think needed to be used as a brickbat against the above named Democrats.

To put it bluntly, we haven't stopped the "bully" in Iraq, or the opportunistic "bullies" of the surrounding nations. We haven't effectively defended ourselves or the people who's "sovereign nation" we are still occupiers of. Nor can we get the government or the constitution we practically imposed on that people to even work. Had Barone at least recognized why Iraq is a problem and it is because of Iraq that we can't hope to materially help Darfur or any other country in the Middle East that decides on a moment's notice to go up in flames... Well, he would have to lay the blame on GW for not being a big picture guy when it comes to foreign policy.

We demanded "play ground rules" for Iraq such as Barone described in his column that declared this is not something we should expect to do. At least when it comes to Darfur and withdrawing from Iraq. GW demanded those "play ground rules" for Iraq and anything that did not toe the line on what his administration thought was best for that country, would be declared as anti-freedom and anti-democratic. Too bad that Barone ignored that. So we dealt with the "bully" Hussein and witnessed his well deserved execution. What have we accomplished since? Well, if GW couldn't get those play ground rules to apply in Iraq, or the neighboring countries of Iraq; then probably, they won't apply in Darfur. But, should we ignore the suffering of that people because of their location and this is a strictly humanitarian issue? Apparently, strictly humanitarian concerns are not to our national interest. So then, what is Iraq? What is our real reason for being there?

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