TCS Daily


The Sword Is Mightier Than the Pen

By Austin Bay - September 29, 2006 12:00 AM

The demonstrators had extraordinary moral credibility.

Last week in Kigali, Rwanda, survivors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide called on the United Nations and world leaders to act to end the continuing genocide in Sudan's western Darfur region.

"We survivors stand with the victims in Darfur," Rwandan Freddy Umutanguha told The Irish Independent. "We know what it is like to lose our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters."

In April 1994, Hutu-led mobs and militias began slaughtering 800,000 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters -- mostly Tutsi tribespeople, though Rwandan Hutus who opposed the killers were also slain. The murder campaign continued for three months.

Since February 2003, at least 250,000 people have been killed in Darfur. Another 2.5 million have been displaced.

In February 2004, reflecting on Rwanda's genocide, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said: "There can be no more binding obligation for the international community than the prevention of genocide. ... The events in Rwanda ... were especially shameful. The international community clearly had the capacity to prevent those events, but failed to summon the will. ... We must ensure that we never again fail to summon the will." Lack of political will and lack of credible military power contributed to the Rwandan disaster.

A U.N. peacekeeping force deployed to Rwanda in 1993 to monitor a ceasefire agreement between the Rwandan government and a Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). I am not convinced that small and lightly armed force could have done much -- there were too few of them, and the genocidal attacks quickly spread throughout Rwanda. However, Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the U.N. force commander, now believes early, decisive action against the Hutu extremists who led the genocide would have thwarted their plans. Dallaire's U.N. troops would have been intervening in a Rwandan civil war, but in retrospect he thinks that was the least-terrible choice.

The peacekeepers did not intervene, however. Belgium withdrew its contingent when 10 soldiers were killed. U.N. leaders dithered for weeks before voting to reinforce the mission, sending too little, too late.

The mounting death toll in Darfur tests Annan's stirring words. But when it comes to ending genocide, words require swords. Fine words cannot protect the vulnerable from dedicated killers -- that job demands soldiers.

Annan knows this. Annan, with the support of the United States and Great Britain, wants to reinforce the hapless, ineffective African Union peacekeeping force now in Darfur. In August, the Security Council approved a U.N.-led force. But the resolution "invites" the consent of the Sudanese government in Khartoum to approve deploying U.N. troops.

Khartoum interpreted the diplo-speak "invites" to mean it could nix a U.N. force. Sudan said, "No, thanks," and called a U.N. force in Darfur "a European imperialist invasion. " Scratch "imperialist," and Khartoum's killers have the trace of a legitimate case, for a credible U.N. military force entering Darfur would be invading to halt Khartoum's state-sponsored policy of ethnic cleansing.

Mao Zedong's rule of thumb -- people are like water, and a guerrilla army like fish swimming in the human pool -- influenced Rwanda's Hutu radicals. The genocidaires believed mass murder would eliminate "the ethnic pool" supporting rebel Tutsis.

Pursuing a similar goal with similar means, Khartoum has its "Janjaweed" militia proxies ravage, then torch, villages it suspects support Darfur rebel factions.

Ending the Darfur genocide means terminating Khartoum's savage policy. That means peacekeeping forces combating the militias would be waging war against allies of the "host" Sudanese government.

Rwanda's pro-intervention demonstrators have moral credibility borne of unspeakable suffering.

Credible combat power -- well-armed, well-led, well-supported soldiers with full authority to use decisive, deadly force -- can be deployed in Darfur.

That credible combat power must be backed by credible leaders, however. That means leaders with the spine to intervene despite Khartoum's intransigence and leaders with the grit to continue this difficult mission when (it is inevitable) the fighting gets dirty, good soldiers die and tragic mistakes occur.

Despite Annan's fine words, outside of London and Washington such leadership is not in evidence. Until it appears, "the international community" deserves to be shamed.

Austin Bay is a syndicated columnist and TCS Daily contributing writer.

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22 Comments

The UN only has pens, and will likely refuse to use those.
The Sudan was recently elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights. This is not a surprise move, given some of the other members of the commission: The People's Republic of China, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria, Syria, Libya, and Vietnam. I should also mention one member that was voted off, ostensible because of opposition to the International Criminal Court, the United States of America. (1) Past Chaimen include Libya, a terrorist state led by a maniacal dictator who permits slavery, child prostitution (2) and sells WMD's to unstable regimes. (3)

The United Nations passed seventeen resolutions demanding that Iraq stop trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, and failed to enforce any of them. (4) They left the enforcement up to the United States, and most of the nations at the UN denounced us for giving teeth to their meaningless resolutions.

The UN failed in Rwanda, it failed in all of the various Arab-Israeili conflicts, it failed in Sierra Leone, it failed in every instance of Soviet aggression, it failed in Somalia, it failed in Iraq, it failed catastrophically in the Balkans and in particular for the refugees in Srebrenica. (5, contains more examples.)

The pinnacle of failure was reached during the Oil-for-Food scandal. Top UN officials have actively obstructed investigations in to the affair, and the Secretary General himself has been implicated in it through his son. (6)

The United Nations is a parody, a joke, a disgrace. It shames itself by its very existence. Shame will do no good in motivating this body, as many of its memebers are engaged in the same sort of activity that is occuring in the Sudan, and feel no shame. The only language the UN understands is money. It is time to cut off all funds to the UN until some serious reforms are put in place, and this place grows the b@lls to deal with dictators and tyrants properly, at the end of a gun and not at the end of a negotiating table.

Sudan has passed the Dem "Global Test"
Before the 2004 elections, Pres. Bush was calling it a genocide.
Senator Kerry said that, in reference to Iraq, US action should be restrained, should be forced to pass some "global test".

The US Democratic Party is significantly to blame for the lack of any US action about Sudan -- since the UN declared it is NOT genocide. And Amnesty and HRW seem to have agreed. Sudan has passed the Global Test.

Every complaint about Bush and the Iraq war implicitly opposes any action to stop the Darfur genocide.

Sudan was a member of the disgraceful UN Commission on Human Rights, which has been replaced by the UN Human Rights Council, where Sudan is not a member, but many human rights violating countries are.

The US should stop funding such counterproductive talking shops.


The US should attempt to create, with India especially but also Japan and the UK, a Human Rights Enforcement Group. Enforcement is more important than diplo talk around it.

Did I miss the part...
where it mentions that Annan was head of the United Nation's peacekeeping office during the Rwanda genocide? Did I miss the part where it says he could have prevented the slaughter of 800,000 Tutus and their sympathizers in Rwanda in 1994? Where did it say he and his family profited from the Oil for Food scandal?

Just wondering.

As the posters above have spoken about the uselessness of the UN, I find it stunningly hypocritical that Annan has the balls to speak of the Rwandan genocide or the Iraq War. His human rights record is an abomination.

Yet more points on the "Why is there a UN again?" scoreboard.

I love this ---
"In February 2004, reflecting on Rwanda's genocide, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said: "There can be no more binding obligation for the international community than the prevention of genocide. ... The events in Rwanda ... were especially shameful. The international community clearly had the capacity to prevent those events, but failed to summon the will. ... " ---

The "international community" my ass! It was the chickenshit UN that pulled its units out of Rwnda and let the people die. It was the chickenshit UN that wouldn't let the troops there unload on the murderers and rapists.

Annan and that whole Useless Nations are worth crap.

If they want to help, I suggest they move the entire UN from NYC and locte it in Darfur. Maybe they'd learn something outside of their cushy dilomatic envirnoment in the States. Annan is such a lying, corrupt hypocrite.

AUSTIN IN AFRICA
WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO THERE YOURSELF TO USE THE SWORD ON JANJAWEED AND PUT AWAY YOUR PEN? MY HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD IS IMMACULATE AS I WAS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT CHAPTER OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 1987-89, AT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY WASH, D.C. AND BEFORE I WAS NOMINATED AND ELECTED TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE VICTIMS OF PAN AM FLIGHT #103 BEFORE FORMER SEC. STATE ALBRIGHT AND NAT. SEC. ADVISER SANDY BERGER AND US AMBASSADOR BILL RICHARDSON AT THE UN MET WITH ME PERSONALLY TO HELP PROSECUTE THE WAR CRIMINALS IN LIBYA, IRAN AND SYRIA IN THE LATE 1990'S. FEDERALLY INSURED BANK CHECKS DRAWN ON US BANKS TO ME :DAN TOBIN 115 ATLANTIC AVE APT 2A, HEMPSTEAD, NY 11550-1204 WILL CONTINUE TO PROSECUTE THE CHRONICALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AND ABUSIVE SOVIET UNION, CHINESE, CUBANS,IRANIANS, SYRIANS, LIBYANS, AND NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENTS. THANKS IN FREEDOM, DAN TOBIN

Sad
Our response or lack of it has been as pathetic as the UN. We need to strengthen our military back up to the pre Clinton and Bush 1 years. We would be better equipped to assist in such matters.
We could have dispatched these Muslim thugs with a batallion of infantry with some special forces and delta team assistance. Our air power could have made up for the lack of boots on the ground in relative numbers. We are as guilty as anyone else.
We have to go back to fighting wars like we used to when we were less selective of our targets and had more regard for the lives of our troops rather than how we treat the emeny and their allies.

I've always read that using all caps was indicative of a delusional mind set.
I guess they were right.

Dems are guilty, not Reps so much
Bertly, W called it genocide.
Kerry, leader of the Dems, said before the US could act, it must pass a "Global Test".
Instead, Sudan passed the test, and US action was NOT called for. Kerry and the Dems almost explicitly refuse to support W going against any other regime.
Amnesty doesn't call it genocide; Human Rights Watch doesn't call it genocide.
To call it genocide is to call for action, for swords.
I call for swords.
Those against swords are the guilty ones.
The choice is clear: war or genocide.
I am against genocide, so support war.
The Dems are against war, but support "some other way".

Colin Powell only mentioned the Sudan a few times
Colin Powell only mentioned the Sudan a few times as Secretary of State.

Whew!
For a moment there I thought he was addressing me.

Dude, don't post your address. A lot of wackos, like LeMule, will visit you. I certainly won't be sending you any money.

"Say the magic word and the duck will come down and give you $100" (Groucho Marx)
bertly,

You said the magic word = Muslim. Followers of the "religion of peace". Way to go!

Forgot to post sources...
If anybody wants them, please let me know.

Agreed
I too would call it genocide and it is a good reason to go to war. I do not understand our lack of military response to this crisis. We seem flatfooted on this one.

Thank you
I appreciate your acknowledgement. Same deal with the coup in Thialand where the Muslim general removes the elected president and government and the Westeren media is quiet. Were that a socialist or leftist government thrown out our media would be howling for sanctions at the UN.

Pen backed by the Gun is what brings and sustains peace
The peace the Industrial World and the relative peace others (like India, for example) enjoy is not sustained by Gun alone.

It is ture that the Gun is needed to back up the Pen, but in the unlitmate analysis, it is the Pen (as in ideas that are accepted) that brings prosperity to a society.

Let the UN go!
I think we should take Chavez up on his offer and ship the UN to Venezuela and let them support it. We could give that nice building to all the companies that lost offices during 9/11.

Call a spade a spade
Does this mean the US is going to introduce a change to the way the security council works so that only a majority is required. Are you guys going to give up your veto power? Of course your not you like your veto power and you guy's use it just like the other four, When it suits you. Tell why don't you guys go in there unilaterally? To hide behind the UN when you have said that you wouldn’t is as bad if not worse then Russia and Chins using their veto in the manner.

sad just sad
The US had troops there and you still did nothing. Your Prex is in tight with many of the leaders of sudan that's why you are doing much.
"A bill that passed the US Congress endorsing state legislation to force publicly owned entities to sell off holdings in companies that do substantial business with Sudan, or sell Khartoum weapons, has now been blocked in the Senate, with campaigners blaming the White House. They say the long-delayed draft put forward last week by the Foreign Relations Committee had removed a clause known as Section 11 that would have thrown its weight behind a celebrity-backed campaign requiring publicly owned entities to dump stock."

UN & Darur
The UN won't do anything in the Sudan for the same reason it couldn't do anything re Serbia a few years ago; plus one more reason. In old Jugo, the Russians would have vetoed any move on the Servs; now re Sudan it's the Chinses with their big oil investments who would also veto; so two of the five security council vote against = nothing gets done. Also I've read that the Chinese have way more so called oil workers there who are actually soldiers, to protect their operations there so nothing like the nigerian raids against them happening.

re sad just sad
I would like for you to list some links or sources of your information regarding this bill. If what you say is true, my legislators and the White House will be notified regarding my distaste for their actions, along with others on my e-mail list with similar views.

re sad just sad
I would like for you to list some links or sources of your information regarding this bill. If what you say is true, my legislators and the White House will be notified regarding my distaste for their actions, along with others on my e-mail list with similar views.

Pens and guns
Not to be trite but it really is a chicken and egg question. Freedom of the press, speech, assembly and religion may have their origin with the pen, but (big but) ideas alone seldom displace arbitrary power. It is only blood and guts, mostly young lives, thrown against that power that can impose a change. For these jobs the summer soldiers need not apply.

Dan Murray

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