Is it America’s moral duty to rescue victims of religious, ideological, racial, national, or tribal oppression, persecution, or genocide?
James Lewis writes at American Thinker:
Genocides happen when the civilized world shuts its eyes and does nothing while some gang of barbarians slaughters human beings by the thousands. Civilized silence promises safety to the killers and demoralizes their victims.
Samantha Power, Obama’s U.N. ambassador, has made a career criticizing U.S. government passivity in the face of genocide. She has written Pulitzer Prize-winning books like A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
Now [she is] U.N. ambassador – a major power position in the Obama administration, the most powerful political job she is ever likely to have to do what she wants.
What has Dr. Power done about genocide? What has she actually done to stop, or even to complain in public about, groups and regimes that thirst after genocide, like Iran, ISIS, the Taliban, the Wahhabi priesthood of Saudi Arabia, the mass killing rulers of the Sudan? What about Boko Haram killing, enslaving, and selling children in Nigeria? What about the Kenya massacres? What has she done?
Samuel Totten studies genocide as a disease of dysfunctional politics and has now written a report on Samantha Power’s actions against genocide.
They are zero, just like her boss’s achievements.
But let’s be more modest. It may be hard to get things done in the real world. So let’s just ask: what has Samantha Power even said in her highly public position as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?
Has Power even spoken out, in private or public, against the horrors we can all see today?
Like Obama himself, Dr. Power refuses even to call the real thing by its proper name. Somehow, after a career of assaulting previous administrations for their moral failures to even name genocide, she is now struck deaf and dumb.
Samantha Power is symbolic of all the simple moral failures of the Obama years. She has sold her soul for a mess of pottage. Like her boss, Dr. Power talks a good game.
The Rwanda genocide happened because Kofi Annan, who was a U.N. “observer”, knew all about it but never made a public fuss.
Well, that’s not why it happened. It may have been why it wasn’t stopped, or prevented from happening.
The Armenian genocide of 1.5 million Christians happened because ethnic and religious genocide is what the Turks did during the four centuries of the Ottoman Caliphate, and nobody in the more civilized world wanted to even publicize it. The same is true of the Holocaust and Stalin’s Ukrainian starvation campaign. …
Again, the disregard of powerful nations by their governments and/or their newspapers was not a cause of those atrocities but – at most – a license to let them proceed.
But perhaps James Lewis means that if the civilized powers made it constantly known, by interfering even in small incidents of persecution when they occurred anywhere in the world – and so demonstrating that they would not allow such things ever to happen – the big events, the starving of millions, the attempts at genocide would not happen because interference would be expected and feared.
He argues that the “civilized world” should at least speak up against the evil that states and rebel armies do.
The civilized world is not obligated to sacrifice precious lives, even for a profoundly moral cause. We are not infinitely powerful. But we have an elementary right and duty to tell the truth, and to act on it when we can. Obama’s abandonment of millions and millions of people is a cruel defeat for elementary morality. Those who don’t get that are sociopaths, and those who twist it are liars. Abandoning Afghanistan is not, as the delusional left will say, some sort of victory. The rise of barbarian sadistic regimes, those who routinely oppress all women and girls because they can, is not – repeat: not – a wonderful moral victory.
But Obama and his media lackeys will try to paint it that way.
Today we don’t even allow ourselves to think that the Cold War was a noble and civilizing effort by the United States and its allies against the kind of barbarism that we see today being practiced by ISIS – and we know about ISIS only because social media make it impossible for the left to censor it. The left cares only about power, and the resulting millions of dead and wounded are simply the price to pay for Progress. …
Now Obama is willingly – maybe joyously – retreating from lands where we made a difference. We gave and sacrificed precious lives and treasure in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and elsewhere. It was the right thing to do after 9/11/01 for our national security, and it was the moral thing to do. Today Obama is turning Afghanistan over to the barbaric Taliban, just as we seem to be turning Iraq over to ISIS and an Iranian proxy regime in Baghdad.
Obama is knowingly running away from the worst war ideology in the world: war-making Islam.
But why? Could it be because he thinks it is the best ideology in the world? There have been many signs that he loves Islam. And not, we suspect, because he is deluded into thinking it other than it is, but because it is as it is.
Since he is constitutionally unable to tell the truth, he has to lie about it. Suddenly the Wahhabi torture theology of ISIS – identical to that of the Taliban – no longer makes for a “terrorist” gang. No, they are an “indigenous insurgency,” following the most shameful lie of the left today, the corrupt idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter. We should have realized that when Obama allowed the young people’s Green Revolution in Tehran to be killed and tortured into silence at the very beginning of this administration.
We have lost our moral bearings, and the left likes it that way.
Obama is a typical leftist horror story, just as merciless as Lenin, Chávez, and Pol Pot. Since we’ve exhausted the English vocabulary for describing him and his gang, I suggest we borrow his own lies to describe him.
He is Obama the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Servant of the most ruthless war theology in history.
He is not my president, and in a moral sense, he is not an American president at all.
But say we did have a president who would tell the truth and speak out against Islam, its ruthlessly destructive ideology, its unjust law, its cruelty to women, its extreme bigotry in allowing no apostasy – would the Taliban or ISIS be deterred?
And if not, would most Americans say they must be stopped by force – American military force?
Samantha Power has a highly selective bleeding heart. She and Hillary Clinton worked passionately to get American bombs falling on Libya; ostensibly to protect the people from massacre by the tyrant Qaddafi when they knew he was not actually threatening them – only to stand back when he was killed as a result of their interference, and let real massacres rip; including the one at Benghazi of the US ambassador and three other Americans.
Perhaps Dr. Power’s silence since then could be read as a sign that she learnt a lesson about “the responsibility to protect” which she had invoked in the case of Libya. That would give her the benefit of any doubt about her character and intelligence. But whether her silence on the daily atrocities being carried out, in the name of Allah, in Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, the Congo, and now the Cameroons – is the result of painfully acquired wisdom or merely conformity to Obama’s “policy” of complaisance, we cannot know.
The war 5
Among the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls there is one titled The War of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.
It is a perpetual war: Good against Evil.
It is fought in most of the world’s mythologies, and in almost all of them Good will win in the end. (The exception is that of the Norsemen. They foresaw the triumph of Evil.)
Dennis Prager, writing at Townhall, describes how the two sides of the conflict appear to him now:
In both personal and public life, you can know a great deal about a person or a group if you know what most bothers them – and what doesn’t bother them.
A news item this past week made this point with glaring clarity. It reported a meeting that the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights had on Friday. Before revealing the subject of that meeting, let’s review for a moment what is happening in the world …
North Korea continues to be an affront to the human species. That North Korea, whether or not it had nuclear weapons, is not a central concern is an indictment of humanity.
That the West, with the noble exception of Canada under Stephen Harper, is appeasing the dictators of Iran, is an indictment of the West.
Add to this list the U.N.’s and the world’s ignoring of the Chinese government’s continuing suppression of all dissent and its decades-long violent eradication of Tibet’s unique and ancient culture.
Then add the slaughter of millions in Congo over the last decade, the 100,000-plus killed in Syria just last year, most of them civilians killed by their own government, and the blowing up, burning alive, and throat-cutting of untold numbers of innocent people by violent Islamists on a daily basis.
In other words, if what bothers you most is evil – the deliberate infliction of cruelty on people by people – North Korea, Congo, China, Syria and radical Islam will bother you more than anything else on the world scene.
So, then, what was the subject of the meeting convened Friday by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights?
The alleged racism of the name of the National Football League’s Washington team, the Redskins.
That’s right. All these horrific evils are happening as you read this, and … the United Nations had a meeting about the name Washington Redskins.
The U.N. is not alone in paying undue attention to the Redskins’ name. The left in the United States is nearly obsessed with it. President Barack Obama has spoken out against it. The Washington Post editorial board has demanded that the team drop the name. In the herd-like way that governs media, innumerable columnists and sports writers have written passionate columns against the name, and increasing numbers of sports writers have vowed to never again write or speak the name.
This left-wing obsession with a non-evil exemplifies the left’s moral universe. That universe is preoccupied with lesser evils while nearly always ignoring the greatest evils.
Preoccupation with real evil is the greatest difference between right and left. The right was preoccupied with fighting Communism while the left … was preoccupied with fighting anti-Communists.
The right today is preoccupied with fighting Islamism; the left is preoccupied with fighting “Islamophobia.”
One way of putting it is that the right is preoccupied with fighting evil and the left is preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil.
The right is preoccupied with defending Israel against those who wish to annihilate it. The left is preoccupied with Israeli apartments on the West Bank.
This difference was made manifest last week in the address given by the one world leader to exemplify the right’s preoccupation with evil, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. Talking about all the condemnations of Israel, Harper said:
“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Yes, but the writer does not go nearly far enough. The Left is not merely preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil, it is occupied with doing evil. The Left is in alliance with Islam. Its (bewilderingly unintelligent) intelligentsia invent a fake need to “save the planet” from “climate change” as an excuse to advance their own tyrannical rule, reduce population, and impoverish and destroy civilization.
And where are our warriors of the Right to stop them? Let’s see: there’s Stephen Harper and … Well, a few more names may spring to mind. And we do have the immense power of Reason on our side.
Which side is winning, would you say?
We seldom quote the leftist anti-Semitic Guardian/Observer, but today we make an exception for extracts from a horrifying account, by Ian Birrell, of the little-reported savage war in the Congo. His completely irrelevant opening sentences tell you (or at any rate tell us) it is by a lefty anti-Semite – his bitter implication being “no Jews, no news” (but whose fault is that if not the likes of him?), but read on:
Once again, the apparently insoluble struggle between Israel and Palestine has flared up before flickering into uneasy standoff. As usual, world leaders issued fierce warnings, diplomats flew in and the media flooded the region to cover the mayhem as both sides spewed out the empty cliches of conflict. After eight days of fighting, nearly 160 people lay dead.
Meanwhile, 2,300 miles further south, events took a sharp turn for the worse in another interminable regional war. This one also involves survivors of genocide ruthlessly focused on securing their future at any cost. But the resulting conflict is far bloodier, far more brutal, far more devastating, far more destructive – yet it gains scarcely a glance from the rest of the world. …
[It is taking place in] the Democratic Republic of the Congo – scene of massacres, of mass rape, of children forced to fight, of families fleeing in fear again and again, so many sordid events that rarely make the headlines. …
A rebel army of 1,500 men waltzed into Goma, a city of one million people, on Tuesday. In doing so, they humiliated not just the useless Congolese government but also the hapless blue helmets of the biggest United Nations peacekeeping mission, costing nearly £1bn a year.
Where on earth have UN peacekeeping forces been effective? Notoriously they themselves raped and murdered civilians in the Congo, as the Guardian itself reported in 2010.
There are so many peacekeepers and development agencies in Goma it has become a boom town, home to some of the most expensive housing in Africa. Yet again, all these people proved impotent.
The leaders of this insurgent force, the M23, have declared their aim to march across this vast country to capture the capital, Kinshasa. Since it is backed by Rwanda and Uganda, which used proxy armies to do this once before in 1997, such threats cannot be dismissed. Joseph Kabila, the Congolese president, who, through fear of a coup, corruption and incompetence, castrated his own military, is reported to have responded by asking Angola to send troops to save him.
It is all a dismal echo of the Great African War, which officially ended in 2003 but dribbled on for another five years. This began when Rwanda and Uganda invaded in 1998, saw 11 countries from Angola to Zimbabwe involved and left more than five million dead and millions more displaced. There were war crimes on all sides as armies brutalised those unfortunate people living above the fabulous seams of minerals that fuelled the fighting.
It is hard to fathom the real aims of M23, formed earlier this year by mutinous Congolese Tutsi army officers. It could be they hope the Kabila government will implode or it may be they wish to create an independent state in the east of the country. One thing is clear: the international community needs to take tough and urgent action to stop a festering sore from poisoning a huge chunk of Africa once again.
Ah yes. The West – read “chiefly the US” – which Guardian journalists despise on principle, must intervene to stop Third World savages (whose culture, don’t forget, is quite as good as ours, if not better) are doing what they habitually do.
The west bears some responsibility for the latest act in the Congolese tragedy. Not just because the ethnic divisions that cause such fear were inflamed during dark years of Belgian misrule.
Albeit the Belgians – who did indeed govern their colonies cruelly – left the Congo more than fifty years ago, two generations back.
Nor simply because we gobble up those minerals that fund the warlords.
See how wicked we Westerners are? We buy their minerals, which lay unprofitably in their soil for millennia before any Belgian ventured into the heart of their darkness.
But because at the heart of the horror in a country the size of western Europe is the tiny nation of Rwanda, darling of western donors seeking to assuage their guilt over inaction during its own genocide.
And we’re wrong, wrong, wrong, if we feel guilt for not intervening in the Rwanda massacre in 1994? Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Britain and America in particular have lionised a regime guilty of ghastly internal repression and gruesome foreign adventurism, with catastrophic consequences for millions of Congolese. Admirers of Paul Kagame, the despotic Rwandan president, praise his country’s economic development, ignoring that it is part-financed by trade in minerals plundered and pillaged from a ravaged neighbour. As far back as 2001, a Congolese rebel leader admitted such theft was Rwandan state policy.
Meanwhile, the west ignored repeated war crimes committed by this regime. The first invasion, originally to drive out Hutu genocidaires who fled over the Congo border and were allowed to regroup by aid organisations, led to an estimated 300,000 deaths of innocent refugees. One expert called this a genocide of attrition. The second invasion sparked even worse carnage. … Rwandan troops and their allies slaughtered children, women and elderly people, often with the crudest weapons such as knives, ropes and stones.
Yet western leaders hailed Kagame as the modern face of Africa and pumped vast aid into his arms.
Here’s a particular on which we at TAC agree with the writer. (We agree with him in general of course that what is happening in the Congo is pitiful and atrocious.) We are against all foreign aid (but we bet he isn’t!).
Britain is the biggest bilateral donor; we directly funded agencies of repression, then led moves for Rwanda to join the Commonwealth. The links between our two countries are alarmingly close … Tony Blair advises Kagame on “governance”, even while swanning around seeking peace in the Middle East. …
“Swanning around”? Implication of contempt. So again we can agree. Tony Blair and his mission are both superfluous to any requirement.
After weeks of prevarication, Britain has finally admitted evidence of Rwandan support for M23 was “credible”. Now we must make up for supporting this monstrous regime by cutting all aid, imposing tough sanctions and seeking war crimes proceedings against Kagame and his senior officials. The UN needs to review its peacekeeping mandate in Congo. Rwanda is set to join the UN Security Council in January, even as fears grow it may end up with a pliable client state carved out in eastern Congo. …
Rwanda carving out a client state? How the world turns!
Rwanda is far from the only villain in this drama. Uganda, another western ally, is also linked again to the latest unrest, the president’s own brother accused of backing the M23. But Rwanda is the cause of much of the trouble. The truth is that six times as many people have died already in the Congolese wars as died in the Rwandan genocide. Time to say never again – or does the blood of Congo not count?
On October 14, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that 100 U.S. troops, acting as advisors to the Uganda military, will help in military action against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) — a rebel force roaming northwest Uganda, recruiting child soldiers, committing atrocities, and taking hostages (including slave “wives”) for more than fifteen years.
Information on the origin and nature of the appalling Lord’s Resistance Army is provided here at PJ Media by Harvey Glickman, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Haverford College, who also speculates on the reasons for the recent stepped-up US involvement against it in Uganda. (For more on the LRA see our post The Lord’s army of child slave cannibals, June 14, 2011.)
The LRA’s main goal is to live off the terror it creates. Northwest Uganda, northeast Congo, and southeast Sudan (now divided by the new border with South Sudan) have all seen decades of bloody disorder as the LRA traversed international borders to elude Ugandan troops. At times, the LRA has also attacked in Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Republic of Sudan, and Uganda, committing atrocities in those countries.
The LRA emerged as an atrocity-anarchy mechanism in the mid-1980s. It arose among the long-neglected Acholi people in northern Uganda, whose brief period of ascendancy during the brutal Idi Amin regime was overthrown by the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri Museveni, in 1986. Museveni parlayed his military success into the presidency and remains there today.
Joseph Kony, a member of the Acholi people originally from Gulu in northern Uganda, founded the LRA, and instigated a rebellion against the Ugandan government in 1986. His ostensible purpose was to establish a theocracy based on orders from God communicated to him via spirits. His method to spread the “Word” encompassed unspeakable atrocities and child abduction, eventually displacing two million people in his rampages through northern Uganda, Congo, and Sudan.
After the September 11 attacks on the United States, the Ugandan military reinterpreted its own measures against the LRA rebellion as part of the global war against terrorism. In 2002 the Uganda parliament passed a Suppression of Terrorism Act. The United States rewarded Uganda’s support for the war in Iraq by restarting a military training and assistance program in 2003. The agreement provided for electronic technology and some direct military assistance, but not weapons. Part of the program was to “win the hearts and minds” of the Acholi people, whose territory within Uganda has been most ravaged by LRA depredations.
By 2003 it was estimated the LRA had 3,000 fighters under arms and 2,000 camp followers, many involuntary. In October 2005, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for five leaders of the LRA, including Kony.
Early in 2010, however, the Ugandan military stated that the LRA was at its weakest point in the past fifteen years. More recently, it claims there are only 200 to 400 soldiers still in the field for the LRA.
So why does the U.S. government pick this moment to get involved?
It turns out that the United States has been involved with this issue for some time. As early as 2003, the United States contributed aid to the Uganda defense budget as part of the expanded struggle against global terrorism. And President Obama has disclosed that since 2008 the United States has helped efforts in the region to protect local people by pursuing the LRA.
U.S. Public Law 111-172 — the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009” — was passed by the U.S. Congress on May 24, 2010. The bill, combining national security and humanitarian goals, was sponsored by Senators McCain and Feingold to provide financial and material assistance to Uganda’s counterinsurgency efforts.
But U.S. support for the anti-LRA war has not been an unmitigated success. The National Security Council authorized training and financial support for the December 2008 Operation Lightning Thunder, a joint Uganda-Congolese-South Sudan campaign. This resulted, however, in major casualties among Congolese civilians, with 200,000 people displaced and the LRA escaping to fight another day.
Again the US is invoking R2P – the Responsibility to Protect – as its reason for intervention in a foreign war. It was the reason given for US military intervention in Libya. But if the intention really was to protect civilians, that intervention must be counted as a failure. (See our posts The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011; A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011; NATO bombards civilians in Libya, October 5, 2011.)
There were other reasons for the US and NATO to go to war in Libya, among them the need for European NATO member-states to ensure their access to that country’s oil. And there are surely other reasons for the US to go to war in Uganda.
Somewhat puzzling about the new U.S. deployment “to protect civilians” — as stated by the U.S. Embassy in Kampala on October 17, 2011 — is the fact that the Ugandan army announced that the Kony/LRA problem is no longer a threat in Uganda, but a regional problem. So, apparently the UPDF is joining the U.S. in an African regional conflict. Uganda has been a leader in the African Union’s battle against the al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia, and suffered a retaliatory bombing in Kampala by them in July 2010.
So does this new operation mean a wider U.S. regional military action in East Africa in support, however reluctant, of Kenya’s incursion into Somalia against al-Shabaab? Is this part of an expanded role for AFRICOM, the U.S. military command in Africa? …
Among the possible motives that Glickman considers for more military action by the US in the region, one makes more sense than most:
There is one other possible factor inspiring this new U.S. effort. The geographic areas in which the LRA operates are in the middle of recent discoveries of oilfields. The finds are substantial. Three companies have bought the drilling rights. Heritage sold its interests to Tullow, Tullow sold 30% of its interests to Total and CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which is state-run). …
The Obama administration’s motives are still not clear. Given this list of possibilities, the way the campaign develops should provide some answers.
We think oil is a very good reason to go to war. It would be an added benefit, greatly to be welcomed, if in the course of such a war the Lord’s Resistance Army were to be destroyed.