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« Iraq Constitution: Sunnis should take the deal | Main | Armies can stop genocide, freedom can prevent it »

August 30, 2005


jj mollo

I'm not so ready to absolve the US from criminal inaction related to Rwanda, Sudan, Bosnia, the Kurds, the Marsh Arabs, Cambodia, etc., etc., etc. I certainly wanted the US to intervene -- mainly because nobody else was doing anything. However, blame management does not lead to improved performance. The real question is, "Why does this keep happening?"

We could have done a lot for Rwanda by bombing a radio station. We probably wouldn't even have had to hit it in order to send a message.

All we have to do is announce that we won't tolerate genocide and take some real action on one or two occasions to convince people that we mean business.

The problem is that everyone sees everyone else as being the responsible party. One of the first things you learn in first-aid training is not to ask for help from a crowd. The thing to do is point at someone and give a direct order. "You, call 9-1-1." "You, go find the building superintendant." "You, go get some ice." "You, find some straight poles for a stretcher." Most people want to help in a very vague sort of way. Clinton was probably worried about who he would offend. Don't want to upset the Belgians, no, no... I still don't know why we pulled out of Somalia.

Frank Warner

We pulled out of Somalia because Clinton already had announced months earlier that we had pulled out of Somalia. Then 18 U.S. troops got killed, and Clinton really had to pull us out.

Bombing a radio station wouldn't have helped Rwanda. The bloodshed would have continued. That gruesome chain of events needed troops on the ground to stop it, and the troops were there, led (badly) by the Belgians.

I don't absolve anyone in the genocide. As I argue time and again, every nation has the obligation to do everything it can, short of suicide, to help the helpless.

My point on Rwanda is that U.S. help really wasn't needed, but then the world's instant reflex to leave all the hard work to the Americans made our help necessary (and six months after Somalia, it wouldn't come).

It's time to remind the rest of the world that it also has solemn obligations to defend the defenseless and free the oppressed.

And it's time to remind silly writers like David Corn that we notice when they rail against U.S. unilateralism one moment and insist on U.S. unilateralism the next.

Multilateralism almost always is in the interest of the United States. The trouble is, much of the world is too selfish, too racist, too callously indifferent, and far too willing to leave all the rescue work to us.

If the rest of the world won't save lives with us, should we drop the idea? On Rwanda, Corn said no. On Iraq, Corn said yes.

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