Sunday, November 19, 2006


By Ivan G. Goldman

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has been making an excellent case for some time now that something must be done to stop the genocide in Darfur. The Sudan government is systematically raping, torturing, and murdering citizens, and it has the backing of virtually the entire Muslim world.

But there's a barricade across the path to action. As the world's only superpower, we're the ones expected to lead the way, but if we were to try, no one would follow us because of the identity of our President. He’s been unmasked as a dangerous clown. His chances for assembling a military coalition to take action are near zero. Unilateral action? We don't have enough U.S. troops to fund his pointless war, and those deployed in Iraq won't be leaving any time soon. They should, but they won't. Those are the facts. And if we sent a small force into Darfur with insufficient air, armor, and artillery, our troops could be cut off and murdered, as they were in Somalia.

We pay in all sorts of ways for allowing a hideously incompetent fool to steal office and keep it, and Darfur is only one of those ways. We’re stuck with Bush 26 more months, and the problems of our nation and the world around it are all magnified by this reality.

Congress doesn’t have the power to withdraw troops from Iraq and it won’t ever cut off funding for those troops. Bush recently said the only way we can lose there is if we quit, which is the kind of logic one might expect from a tangerine. It tells us if we keep doing the same thing, maybe it will start to work somehow, sometime, some way, that maybe something will save his place in history. I wouldn't count on it.

Whatever pressing needs you bring up – national health care, anti-pollution measures, action on global warming, our dangerously shot educational system, immigraton -- require the application of brains and money. Meanwhile, the mindless theocrat steering the ship is spending $8 billion a month in borrowed money on a war that has no mission and helps only our enemies. And if you let him, he’d lower taxes (for the very, very rich of course) still more.

We're all screwed by Iraq to some extent, but some of us are screwed worse than others -- those who get blown to pieces, maimed physically or emotionally or who go to prison because of actions taken or not taken in relation to the war. To be least affected, one must scramble up the American hierarchy. It's no good to be a torturer, for instance, as enlisted people at Abu Ghraib found out, but it's quite safe to be pulling the torturers' strings. If you're sent into combat day after day without respite and you snap and kill the wrong Iraqi, you can get life. But if you can dispatch those same troops and own some Haliburton stock on the side while you grant it no-bid contracts, you'll do quite well.

The people in Darfur are, unfortunately for them, just another group that's particularly screwed by the mess our Bushoramous has made and continues to make in Iraq.

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