Darfur

DARFUR….Yes, it’s true: reading juvenile, Peretzian editorials like this one is like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. But that’s the Marty Peretz style, after all: if it’s a choice between accomplishing something useful and getting in a good, sanctimonious lick, well, it’s hardly even a choice.

But look. Aside from taking shots at TNR and its owner, there seem to be a few things about Darfur that are barely disputable:

  • Yes, it’s a genocide. For chrissake, splitting hairs at this point is just wankery. TNR is right about that, at least.

  • The recent peace deal might be meaningful, but probably not. Even if the deal does provide a slight ray of hope, there’s little reason to trust Khartoum to stick to it given their past behavior.

  • Stopping the genocide would take a lot of troops. Yes, there are sanctions and humanitarian aid that can help around the edges, but if we actually want to stop the genocide, we need troops on the ground.

  • Eric Reeves, in his useful Darfur FAQ, estimates 15,000 troops, but I suspect he’s being optimistic. I’m not pretending to be a military expert here, but based on the sheer size and scope of the problem, it’s hard to see an effective solution that involves less than several combat brigades plus a serious commitment to local air superiority. Call it 30,000 troops plus all the associated logistics. I mean, we’re basically declaring war on Sudan if we do this.

  • But that’s not going to happen. The UN doesn’t have a standing army, after all, so it’s no help. U.S. troops are committed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The African Union isn’t quite a joke, but it’s close to one. China, Russia, and the Muslim world plainly have no interest in intervening. And Europe has simply stuck its collective head in the sand. They aren’t willing to even think about doing anything serious.

So what’s left? Sanctions and humanitarian aid, and God knows we should be doing more along these lines. But even if we did, it wouldn’t change the fact that there’s not one single country in the world willing to seriously commit troops to Darfur. Not one. And unless we’re talking about that, we’re not talking about the real problem at all.

UPDATE: Turns out it’s a Wieseltierian editorial, not a Peretzian editorial. Apparently my ear for sanctimonious licks from TNR muckymucks isn’t quite sharp enough.