DARFUR REVISITED….Suzanne Nossel responds today to my pessimistic appraisal of intervention in Darfur. There are more options than U.S. boots on the ground, she says:

The most obvious short-term solution is a hefty NATO backstop to an AU force, likely going beyond the logistics, transport and training they are providing today to include actual troops in country (over the long-term, we ought to be thinking about measures like those outlined here, including a long-term investment in developing capable military leadership for a standing AU force).

….A third option is stepped up UN peacekeeping. The UNSC voted to establish a 10,000 person strong peacekeeping mission in Sudan back in March, but the peacekeepers have only just begun to deploy.

My immediate response is that (a) NATO seems unlikely to agree to any serious intervention and (b) I suspect UN troops aren’t really of any use until there’s some peace to keep.

But in a way, that’s neither here nor there. I agree that there are options in Darfur other than landing a few divisions of U.S. troops, and I support them even if I’m skeptical that they’ll do much good. Rather, my point is a simpler one: if you’re serious about stopping genocide, I think you have to face the fact that armed combat troops ? not “monitors” or “peacekeepers” ? are needed to do the job. I’d like to see more people taking a firm stand on whether they support this, both in Darfur and elsewhere, instead of tiptoeing around the subject and pretending that maybe the AU or the UN is up to the task. For now, they aren’t.

So: should we be prepared to send troops or not? Should we be pressing NATO to send troops or not? And remember that Darfur isn’t the end of the story in Africa. Congo, anyone?

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