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When Genocides Aren’t Stopped, They Spread

Like cancer, if untreated, genocides can spread. Take today’s story from the BBC regarding Sudan ‘exporting’ war. Not a pretty picture.

My friend Michael alerted me to a recent New Yorker article detailing President Bush’s “Not on my watch!” comment after reading the Clinton report on inaction in Rwanda in 1994. One paragraph that jumped out at me was:
"Yet it has never been the American way to venture abroad to stop mass slaughter by force. We entered the Second World War nearly three years into the fight, and then not to save Europe’s Jews but in response to a direct attack on our territory and, ultimately, to repel Fascist aggression. We did not save Cambodia from itself, and did nothing while eight hundred thousand Rwandans were killed. And, when Europe was again disfigured by concentration camps and ethnic cleansing, in the Balkans, we waited for years before pacifying Bosnia and, later, Kosovo with aerial bombardments. (Even then, the logic was as much strategic—to bring a defiant dictator to heel and restore order on NATO’s turf—as it was humanitarian.) We have not sent forces into Congo, although it has been riddled with massacres in the past decade, nor did we send troops to southern Sudan during the civil war there that claimed more than a million lives in the past two decades."
A policy of inaction is a terrible one to have. It is reactive at best and ignorant at worst. All of the armchair commander-in-chiefs can talk about what could have and should have been done differently in Iraq and elsewhere, but talk alone doesn’t end genocides.

With the UN now on the ground in Darfur and more troops committed from the AU, it appears that the new peace deal may be made manifest. Of course, once Darfurians are safely back in homes and can sleep through the night without fear of traveling murderers, the next step will be to deal with Chad.

Clearly, it does no good to get rid of the cancer in the stomach if it has already spread to the lungs. Only cutting out the disease at its source will rid the body of its ailments. Like cancer, the roots of genocide are hard to pinpoint, and ‘treatment’ can leave the patient nearly dead. This is not a simple solution, and any workable resolution will require creative minds - not inactive nations.

“When Genocides Aren’t Stopped, They Spread”