Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them. - Laurence J. Peter

Friday, April 28, 2006

How to stop the genocide in Darfur

The genocide in Darfur has been ongoing for a few years now. It is inexcusable and unacceptable that genocide is happening - again - and no-one's stopping it. After the Holocaust, after Rwanda recently, still the world hasn't sorted out a real plan for stopping genocide, the worst of human evils.

I don't blame America - much. America has its forces tied up in Iraq, not to mention all their other commitments in Afghanistan and Korea and the Balkans and dozens of other countries in the world. I'd prefer that they triple the size of their armed forces so they can do things like STOP GENOCIDE.

Mostly I blame the other prosperous liberal democracies. Or I blame the whole Western social order where people rely on their governments to administer foreign aid, whether financial or military.

So what should be done? First, the Community of Democracies (a new organization that is like the United Nations but only has democracies in it) should create a standing army for the purpose of intervention in genocide. But I'll post about that some other time.

Immediately, we should hire private security companies to do it - companies like Blackwater and DynCorp. The Boston Globe has an article about how these companies are ready to go into Darfur now.
THREE YEARS OF FIGHTING in the Darfur region of Sudan have left an estimated 180,000 dead and nearly 2 million refugees. In recent weeks, both the UN and the US have turned up the volume of their demands to end the violence (which the Bush administration has publicly called genocide), but they've been hard pressed to turn their exhortations into action. The government in Khartoum has scuttled the UN's plans to take control of the troubled peacekeeping operations currently being led by the African Union, and NATO recently stated publicly that a force of its own in Darfur is ''out of the question." Meanwhile, refugee camps and humanitarian aid workers continue to be attacked, and the 7,000 African Union troops remain overstretched and ineffective.

But according to J. Cofer Black, vice chairman of the private security firm Blackwater, there is another option that ought to be on the table: an organization that could commit significant resources and expertise to bolster the African Union peacekeepers and provide emergency support to their flagging mission.

A few weeks ago, at an international special forces conference in Jordan, Black announced that his company could deploy a small rapid-response force to conflicts like the one in Sudan. ''We're low cost and fast," Black said, ''the question is, who's going to let us play on their team?"
They're not actually proposing to stop the genocide actually, just basically to protect the humanitarian workers who help the survivors. But it's a start.
Today, private military companies are offering defensive services-they propose to secure refugee camps and vulnerable villages, guard humanitarian aid agencies and NGOs, or, depending on the requirements of the contract, assist peacekeepers like the African Union troops in Darfur.
Private security companies have done combat missions in the past. I hope that they do again, if it's a choice between that and no-one stopping a genocide.
In the mid and late '90s, the South African firm Executive Outcomes and British firm Sandline International offered direct combat support to the governments of Angola and Sierra Leone. In Angola, 500 ex-special forces officers working for Executive Outcomes conducted sophisticated airstrikes and commando operations to help the Angolan military retake its diamond mines and oil fields from the rebel group UNITA. In Sierra Leone, Executive Outcomes and later Sandline were hired to combat the RUF insurgency. With targeted helicopter attacks and ground assaults, both firms dominated tactically, but fighting broke out soon after their respective contracts ended.
There are problems with mercenaries conducting combat missions, of course, but you know what's worse? Genocide.

Thanks to Steve for the link. Steve's as mad as I am that genocide still happens.

Blackwater has an interesting newsletter, by the way. I've been subscribed for months.


Post a Comment

<< Home