Darfur Again

DARFUR AGAIN….Over at Democracy Arsenal, Derek Chollet suggests that “Good Policy is Good Politics,” but it’s hard to see why. The subject is the genocide in Darfur, and he quotes the following from a Zogby poll:

Concerning NATO’s role ? an idea we have championed here ? 80% support creating a no-fly zone over Darfur, and 76% support NATO logistical and troop support for an expanded African peacekeeping force. However, support falls quickly away at the prospect of U.S. military action; just 38% of likely voters think the U.S. should send troops under its own flag (which is not surprising).

Let’s break this down. For starters, only 18% of the poll’s respondents are even aware Darfur exists. The other 82% are either “slightly aware” of Darfur or not even that ? and I’d bet my last nickel that “slightly” is just a face-saving version of “I couldn’t tell you which continent Darfur is on if you paid me.” So I’d take this whole poll with a large shaker of salt.

As for the rest, I’m gratified to see 80% support for a no-fly zone. I support that too. But I’m more interested in the anemic 38% support for using U.S. troops, because I don’t see any way to stop the genocide without them (see here for details.) After all the scorn we lefties have (rightfully) heaped on Bush & Company for their delusion that Iraq would be a cakewalk, the last thing we need is yet more rosy optimism about how we can fix up Darfur with a bit of loose change and some logistical support for the African Union. The odds of that working are infinitesimal.

I’m willing to support half measures like the Darfur Accountability Act because half measures are better than nothing. But I’d like to see more people on both left and right face up to facts: if you consider yourself serious about stopping the genocide in Darfur, then you should be willing to support a serious commitment of combat troops ? and all that that implies ? for a period likely to last years. Are you?

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