Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


An African Tragedy
August 24, 2004 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Dying in Darfur. Can the ethnic cleansing in Sudan be stopped?
posted by homunculus (80 comments total)

 
Day of Conscience.
posted by homunculus at 10:20 PM on August 24, 2004


humanitarianfilter
posted by bob sarabia at 11:07 PM on August 24, 2004


One of the challenges in these situations is what appears to me to be a radically different view on the value and sanctity of human life.

I don't know how long the killing in Sudan has been going on, and it's too late for me to go on a googlehunt for it.

I will suggest, however, that if that country has had a culture of killing, the people who are executing these atrocities may have such a completely alien worldview that there is no ability to stop them short of killing them.

When a child grows up taught to hate others, grows up inured to violence, grows up with a gun in hand and the expectation that he, too, will get to kill... oh, what an intractable problem.

There is no easy solution that I can see, short of putting a dead end to those people, families, or communities that are incubating the murderous mindset.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:37 PM on August 24, 2004


I beg you to call it genocide, if that's what it is, rather than the pasteurized mealymouthed papspeak of 'ethnic cleansing'.

For what little it's worth.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:43 PM on August 24, 2004


This genocide will only stop when the US renounces the "Clash of Civilizations" and pulls Jim Woolsey out of Iraq's "Information Ministry" slot.

That would free up a bit of Bush Adm. planning and attentional resources.
posted by troutfishing at 1:19 AM on August 25, 2004


Yes. I think it probably can be stopped.
posted by ed\26h at 1:21 AM on August 25, 2004


Deadlock strikes Darfur dialogue: Talks to ease the humanitarian crisis in western Sudan's Darfur region have suffered an early setback over plans to restrict armed groups to certain areas.
posted by homunculus at 2:01 AM on August 25, 2004


Perhaps it can, but is anybody going to try?
posted by sneakums at 2:44 AM on August 25, 2004


I don't know; but very much hope so.
posted by ed\26h at 3:02 AM on August 25, 2004


Don't worry folks. I am sure the UN will come to the rescue.
posted by a3matrix at 4:55 AM on August 25, 2004


Don't worry folks. I am sure the UN will come to the rescue.

- Please do not be so f**king flippant. I appreciate these are not American lives at stake here. So much the better though eh, making it a lot easier to use for the purposes of point scoring, pathetic.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:08 AM on August 25, 2004


Johnyboy, if you look into the situation and the lack of UN response, I think you might respond differently. Has the UN even passed a resolution in this regard? The UN is a joke, and this only proves it again, and only proves how those who do not treat it like a joke are despicable.

Nice morality you got there, France, et al.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:15 AM on August 25, 2004


But, obviously, a President who opposes abortion and prays, but have liberated millions of people from death and despotism is MORE evil than the UN.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:17 AM on August 25, 2004


More on this from the Economist...
posted by lilboo at 5:27 AM on August 25, 2004


Thanks for the link an interesting and pertinant article, Paris.
lilboo, if you are going to troll Metafilter you are going to have to come up with some new bait.

Can you spot the deliberate mistake?

It would be interesting if this were the first serious mission for the AU troops.
posted by asok at 5:37 AM on August 25, 2004


Paramus: That argument is only likely to work if those you are trying to convince are going to accept your premise. A premise it seems they would be more likely to reject that your conclusion itself were it presented on its own.
posted by ed\26h at 5:39 AM on August 25, 2004


Johnyboy, if you look into the situation and the lack of UN response, I think you might respond differently. Has the UN even passed a resolution in this regard? The UN is a joke, and this only proves it again, and only proves how those who do not treat it like a joke are despicable.

- What on earth are you babbling on about now PP. Even your good self must know that the UN is only as effective as the member nations which comprise it. How you manage to wangle France in there I am not too sure, maybe on planet PP France may be tangentially responsible, I don't know. The bottom line here is that the UN will only be able to respond to this catastrophe if the security council decides to grow a spine and act, talk is cheap.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:58 AM on August 25, 2004


But, obviously, a President who opposes abortion and prays, but have liberated millions of people from death and despotism is MORE evil than the UN.


- you've got a little foam on the corner of your mouth now mate.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:00 AM on August 25, 2004


The UN is acting in so far as it is capable - with the generous assistance and guidance of the US they are threatening to impose sanctions if the government of Sudan does not cease hostilities within 30 days (that would within the next week). China and Pakistan (our stalwart ally) abstained from the vote.

My favourite part -

US Ambassador Danforth said 'the word "sanctions" was objectionable to certain council members. He made clear, however, that the changes in the resolution are "simply a matter of nomenclature" and the threat of full economic and diplomatic sanctions remains'

Well I will bet they are quaking in their little booties right now at the thought of sanctions being put in place.
I suppose if the majority of the British Army were not off galivanting in the desert right now we might be able to send peacekeeping forces to prevent the massacre.
Hey ho - gotta have priorities.
posted by longbaugh at 6:06 AM on August 25, 2004


Some more perspectives:

David Clark, Special Advisor to the Foreign Office 1997-2001

Unfortunately, as Darfur illustrates, the UN system is singularly ill-suited to upholding its own stated values. Four of the countries that forced the threat of sanctions to be removed from the security council resolution - Russia, China, Pakistan and Algeria - have extremely poor human rights records. Two are permanent members with the power of veto, commercial ties to the Sudanese government and a strong interest in defending the inviolability of state sovereignty against the humanitarian imperative. Why do they enjoy this privilege? Because almost 60 years ago they happened to be on the winning side in a war.

The veto power of the other permanent members is no less anomalous and no less hypocritical in the uses to which it has been put. America has exercised its veto on 79 occasions, most frequently to shield Israel from international criticism. It has also used the veto to avoid censure for its aggression against Nicaragua, the invasion of Grenada and other misdeeds. Britain and America, with occasional French support, performed the same service for apartheid South Africa throughout the 70s and 80s. With these rules, the aspiration for global justice will always lose out to the reality that there is one law for the "great powers" and their client states, and another law for the rest.



Responses.
posted by asok at 6:12 AM on August 25, 2004


The UN hasn't responded because a large number of its members don't want their internal human rights violations tagged and publicized. And while there are no human rights violations in, e.g., France, the refusal of such countries to DO SOMETHING on an ad hoc basis demonstrates how feckless such countries are.

Sort of like Iraq, at least somewhat.

(Question: how disgraceful of certain posters to label every comment they can quite get their mind around as "troll.")
posted by ParisParamus at 6:20 AM on August 25, 2004


Yeah screw the UN, I mean, what is the worst that can happen?
posted by johnnyboy at 6:32 AM on August 25, 2004


Paramus: Are you sure that was a question?
posted by ed\26h at 6:59 AM on August 25, 2004


the UN is only as effective as the member nations which comprise it.

My comment was sarcastic. See the above caption grabbed from Johnnyboy. It clearly indicates why the UN will fail, every time.
It is impossible to have a group that is supposed to take care of world matters, when it is controlled by individual member nations more interested in furthering their own goals then the worlds.
The UN is on its face, a failure. All talk, no action, very little capability for anything other than talk. It isn't their fault, just their lot in life.
You can sanction until the cows come home. But, how do you enforce it?
posted by a3matrix at 7:21 AM on August 25, 2004


Kansas City Star:
The U.N. Security Council on July 30 gave Sudan 30 days to rein in the Janjaweed militia and facilitate relief to black Africans uprooted from their homes in Darfur or face the prospect of sanctions.

However, most penalties that the United Nations or the United States could impose would have a negligible impact on the Sudanese government and the militia, said a U.S. official who keeps close watch on the humanitarian situation in the African country.
posted by dhoyt at 7:22 AM on August 25, 2004


MeFi law #245: as the length of a thread progresses, regardless of subject, the probability of FreedomParamus invoking his opinion on the United Nations approaches 1.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:35 AM on August 25, 2004


The UN is, of course, pathetically ineffectual. UN troops stood around and did nothing as the genocide proceeded in Rwanda, for example. But the US is complicit in this, since it hasn't exactly been putting its weight behind doing something about these dreadful situations.

Question for Paris: How exactly do you differentiate US policy from UN policy in this region?
posted by languagehat at 7:36 AM on August 25, 2004


Via lots of places:
"The United Nations Security Council Friday passed a resolution threatening the Sudanese government with economic and diplomatic punishment for the alleged genocide that government-allied militiamen are waging against black Africans in the country's Darfur region.

Last week, the U.S. House and Senate unanimously passed separate resolutions urging the Bush administration to label the violence genocide. The U.N Security Council resolution warns that the penalties will be imposed unless the Sudanese government disarms within 30 days the Arab militiamen who are blamed for killing an estimated 30,000 black Africans.

The U.S. agreed to drop the word "sanctions" from the U.N. resolution after criticism from Security Council members such as China, Pakistan and Russia, which opposed immediate sanctions against the Khartoum-based government of Sudan. Despite the change in wording, China and Pakistan still abstained from voting on the resolution."
What's that I hear over from PP's corner? Crickets?

Oh, and about those damned French... looks like Europe has more balls than the U.S.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:43 AM on August 25, 2004


Good resource on the Darfur situation here.

It will be interesting to see if the AU can clean up this mess, they are a pretty new organization, and if they are sucessful they might just be able to help pull other African regions out of their funk. PP isn't totally wrong about the UN though, just sort of off-base. The UN has a real effectiveness/credibility problem in Africa ever since the Rawandan massacre. If the AU can pull this off the continent as a whole might be able to demand more of the attention that they currently get in these matters, esp. from the US.
posted by lilboo at 7:48 AM on August 25, 2004


A serious question: Does anyone know what John Kerry's position is on this issue?

The issue, it seems to me, is one that is also involved in Iraq, and was involved in Bosnia: To what extent should the U.S. play world cop? If you objected to the war in Iraq based on Iraq soverignty, or because it was a first strike despite a lack of direct threat to the U.S., wouldn't you have to object to action in Sudan on the same basis (and wouldn't you have had to oppose action in Bosnia)? Is there some humanitarian threshold that justifies U.S. action? Is there a consistent position to take?

Those are damn hard questions to answer. But I would hope that we could do something more than sit idly by while thousands die from starvation. I would like to think we could use our force to stop the bloodshed. But wouldn't that just feed the antagonism the ROTW feels towards the U.S.?
posted by pardonyou? at 7:51 AM on August 25, 2004


But the US world is complicit in this...

Didn't we establish this last time around? ;)
posted by dhoyt at 7:52 AM on August 25, 2004


Yeah, the Europeans will negotiate peace. BULLSHIT. Like they did in the Ex-Yugoslavia. Or Iraq.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:01 AM on August 25, 2004


Yeah, the Europeans will negotiate peace. BULLSHIT. Like they did in the Ex-Yugoslavia. Or Iraq.

- Someone has thrown their rattle out of the pram. Come now PP, you need to bring this irrational infatuation to an end, closure I believe you call it on your side of the pond.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:05 AM on August 25, 2004


Gee. Perhaps, in a parallel universe, if France, et al had supported the Iraq War (and not just been Saddam's whore), there would be a peace force (UN or not) in the Sudan right now.

Nice work, Chirac and Schroder!
posted by ParisParamus at 8:06 AM on August 25, 2004


There is an awful lot of disrespect given to UN intervention forces which I believe is not always deserved. Problems with communication and the chain of command often prevent them from taking action during peacekeeping operations. I'm not sure if you remember Somalia when troops were forced to stand by as their colleagues were killed because of restrictive Rules Of Engagement?

I think your armchair warrior schtick is quite awful PP. If you really think violence as a method of influence is superior to discussion I can only assume you have never been in a personally threatening situation.

On the other hand, I find you hilarious. So until I am forcibly converted to Islam with the rest of my European brethren I salute you.
posted by longbaugh at 8:08 AM on August 25, 2004


Indeed we did dhoyt, unfortunately the reverend tony blair will be struggling to dispatch any troops to darfur due to the pathetic size on the British Army and our commitments in Iraq.

Gee. Perhaps, in a parallel universe, if France, et al had supported the Iraq War (and not just been Saddam's whore), there would be a peace force (UN or not) in the Sudan right now.

Nice work, Chirac and Schroder!


- So let me get this straight, we might now be in a position to stop the rape and pillage occuring in darfur if both the French and Germans had sent troops to participate in the rape and pillage, sorry liberation of Iraq.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:12 AM on August 25, 2004


For dhoyt, ask and ye shall recieve: A serious question: Does anyone know what John Kerry's position is on this issue?
posted by lilboo at 8:15 AM on August 25, 2004


Johnnyboy: advice: grow up and don't be so cynical.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:19 AM on August 25, 2004


For dhoyt, ask and ye shall recieve

lilboo, how could you confuse me and dhoyt? We look nothing alike.

Anyway, back on topic, I don't like this:

The forces already pledged by the African Union could form the backbone of any such mission, assisted by European and other forces. The U.S. should at least contribute logistical support...

It's not enough. I'm sorry, but it's not enough (unless you take "at least" literally, which means he's open to the U.S. providing more).
posted by pardonyou? at 8:22 AM on August 25, 2004


Johnnyboy: advice: grow up and don't be so cynical.

- Unfortunately I have rescinded my membership of the wide eyed diplomatic corp, realpolitic old boy.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:32 AM on August 25, 2004


ParisParamus: advice: don't assume the world actually works anything like the bizarre construct you have in your mind. Outside of that place where bunnies frolic and French Muslims die a painful death there are real people who actually have a clue.

Thanks.
posted by longbaugh at 8:37 AM on August 25, 2004


Paris, you ignorant prick, France is one of the very countries actually doing anything about Darfur. Perhaps it's not enough but it's better than platitudes and inaction

France is deploying 200 soldiers to help secure Chad's eastern border with Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region.

The French Ambassador to Chad, Jean Pierre Bercot, said the troops would also bring humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Darfur refugees in Chad.


I defy you to call Medecins Sans Frontieres France's scores of field staff in Darfur cowards. Go on, you know you want to.

Do try and do a little homework before trotting out your dreck.
posted by dmt at 8:49 AM on August 25, 2004


A large problem the UN always seems to have is that they are knee jerk reactionaries. They only ever seem to have half a plan.
Take Sudan. They want the killing to stop. If they killing stops, it doesn't mean the dying will.
They then start flying in all sorts of food aid, creating a huge welfare type of system that doesn't cure any of ills.
Then one day that stops and we come full circle.
Is there an answer for Sudan? Rwanda? Africa?
Maybe there are too many people and death is the answer?
Seriously, how are you going to fix these types of problems, not just band aid them?
posted by a3matrix at 8:54 AM on August 25, 2004


[Whoops, sorry 'bout that, Pardon] This is a good example of a situation where I feel the US could do more to intervene, but I think everyone (including Kerry) is really scared to open that can of worms. The situation in Africa has been so bad for so long, getting involved in any real sense would make Vietnam look like a polite disagreement at the dinner table in comparison. If you use this logic to help out in Sudan, you can very quickly include more obligations in the Congo, Uganda, Burundi, you name it.

[BTW, Doctors Without Borders really could use some help with this - just sayin...]
posted by lilboo at 9:00 AM on August 25, 2004


[Again whoops - missed the comments on preview.]
posted by lilboo at 9:02 AM on August 25, 2004


France is one of the very countries actually doing anything about Darfur

Yeah, they're doing something:

France says it does not support US plans for international sanctions on Sudan if violence continues in Darfur.

"In Darfur, it would be better to help the Sudanese get over the crisis so their country is pacified rather than sanctions which would push them back to their misdeeds of old," junior Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier told French radio.

France led opposition to US moves at the UN over Iraq. As was the case in Iraq, France also has significant oil interests in Sudan.


"Their misdeeds of old." As opposed to their misdeeds of now, I guess.

[lilboo, I know. I was just teasin']
posted by pardonyou? at 9:06 AM on August 25, 2004


Paramus: Are you saying that it is impossible to have opposed to war in Iraq without “being Saddam’s whore”? And can you elaborate on what that metaphor actually means please?

Also, I would be interested to know why do you think it follows that if such countries had supported that war then there would be troops in the Sudan now?
posted by ed\26h at 11:01 AM on August 25, 2004


Yeah, they're doing something:

Given that sanctions did such a whizz bang job against Iraq - resulting in approximatly 100,000 deaths - perhaps France is onto something? Like it or not Renaud Muselier has got a point when he points out that the likely result of sanctions would be an ossification of injustice and a deterioration in the situation of Sudan's internally displaced persons - see Afghanistan, Cuba, Iraq and many others in Jenkins' list below.

That said, Muselier's comments from your link in which he dismisses claims of "ethnic cleansing" or genocide in Darfur are simply unforgivable aren't they?

Simon Jenkins wrote eloquently recently critiquing both intervention and sanctions.
I can't agree with his contention that there is no cause which justifies intervention in the politics of another country. Moreover I think that is an ethical role for an explicit form of military humanism and I think that its Chomskyite critics conflate causality with externality
posted by dmt at 11:16 AM on August 25, 2004


Paramus: Are you saying that it is impossible to have opposed to war in Iraq without “being Saddam’s whore”? And can you elaborate on what that metaphor actually means please

Of course you could have opposed the war on any number of moral and reasonable grounds. BUT NOT WHILE ACCEPTING SHIIT-LOADS OF MONEY FROM SADDAM, AS IT HAS BEEN DISCOVERED THAT THE FRENCH, GERMANS AND UN DID.

GET IT?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:00 PM on August 25, 2004


Paramus: Please stop shouting and being rude.

Genuinely opposing the war on moral grounds while simultaneously having financial contracts with Iraq are certainty not necessarily mutually exclusive positions to hold.

Also, I would be interested to know why do you think it follows that if such countries had supported that war then there would be troops in the Sudan now?
posted by ed\26h at 1:16 PM on August 25, 2004


"Genuinely opposing the war on moral grounds while simultaneously having financial contracts with Iraq are certainty not necessarily mutually exclusive positions to hold."

Maybe not in the French parallel universe, but...

I think the whole transatlantic Iraq polemic poisoned the notion of international collective action to intervene. And no, that's not an argument for not having gone into Iraq, which was clearly justified five, or even more years ago (and, what, 10 or 15 UN resolutions earlier...).
posted by ParisParamus at 1:29 PM on August 25, 2004


Can I ask that we try to avoid phrases like “French parallel universe”?; they seem rather too abstract to help in achieving an objective conclusion. What I am really trying to establish is whether or not you believe, in this world and this universe, that genuinely opposing the war on moral grounds while simultaneously having financial contracts with Iraq are necessarily mutually exclusive positions to hold.

You seem to be basing the idea that the lack of action over Sudan is a direct result of relations over international military action becoming soured, simply on the fact that you think it is so. Or do you have any evidence that has lead you to have this belief?
posted by ed\26h at 1:54 PM on August 25, 2004


Doing business with Saddam's regime while it existed, in view of the overwelming evidence that said regime was pocketing as much money as it could (and allocating as little as possible to social services, etc) was immoral. Call in collaboration, call it sleeping with the enemy, or simply dividing loyalties, it wasn't moral, and negated and credibility the UN, France, Germany, Russia and a few other nations had/have on the issue of whether or not to attack Iraq.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:59 PM on August 25, 2004


ed\26th. To answer your other question, at the very least, the "souring" cannot have helped the situation, but one did not completely cause the other.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:04 PM on August 25, 2004


I am sorry if I came across as rude or impolite (rather than hoping to make a noticible point inbetween elements of my official work, here at 305 Broadway, NY NY...)
posted by ParisParamus at 3:12 PM on August 25, 2004


I am sorry if I came across as rude or impolite

Who are you and what have you done with ParisParamus?
posted by homunculus at 3:44 PM on August 25, 2004


Doing business with Saddam's regime while it existed, in view of the overwelming evidence that said regime was pocketing as much money as it could (and allocating as little as possible to social services, etc) was immoral.

Yes, it probably was. But the US has similarly done business with unsavory and even brutal people for a long time now to its own benefit... and used a veneer of high minded ideals to cover for it (remember when Reagan likened the mujeheddin to the US's own Founding Fathers?) So what? That's life in the big city: nations have interests, and sometimes they use ugly means to further and protect them. Is it moral? Mostly it's not. It's just what nations do.

So where does all this venom come from? France and Germany have national and business interests that sometime conflict with our own. They are stable, mature nations, they have the right to disagree with with the US, and pursue their own agendas, regardless of what you or the president (or the dimwits in Congress who wanted to rename French Fries) thinks about them.

If any one needs to "grow up" or maybe working being a little less naive, you may want to consider the possibility that it's you. Trying to couple what's happening with Darfur with the French and German refusal to participate in the Iraq excursion, makes no sense whatsoever. It's plain that your just looking for another excuse to launch into an anti-UN or anti-French tirade, which frankly, just makes you end up looking silly.
posted by psmealey at 5:34 PM on August 25, 2004


Can we stop being distracted by Paris for a moment?

I'm just finishing a book called War and Slavery in Sudan, written by Jok Madut Jok, a Sudanese anthropologist studying in the U.S. It's a very disturbing book. Detailed and patient in a way I'm not sure I could be in the face of the situation he describes, but good nonetheless.

According to Jok there's a push among Sudan's Islamic government to destabilize and exploit the (mostly black African and/or non-muslim) southern half of the country-- which they do through various means: divide-and-conquer political games, funding of paramilitary raids into the southern region, and massive looting and slave-taking. This is part of a very long history of violence and aggression in Sudan. Jok claims that slavery continued to exist throughout the British colonial period, typically with the tacit support of the theoretically abolitionist Brits. Britain's withdrawal in 1956 left a massively lopsided balance of power between the Islamic north and the weakened and under-educated black south that remains in effect today.

What can we do to put a stop to this? Simply shining light on the situation would be a good first step. If you're an American maybe you could start by asking your political representatives why we're giving so much leeway to a nation that has given support and/or refuge to both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Good God, even the Heritage Foundation's ideas make sense.

It amazes me that things like these can take place so casually in the post-Rwanda "never again" world. Time to drop my faith in humanity another notch or two.
posted by tyro urge at 6:56 PM on August 25, 2004


Trying to couple what's happening with Darfur with the French and German refusal to participate in the Iraq excursion, makes no sense whatsoever

It makes sense if France, learning from mistakes in regards to the Iraq situation, is taking "steps" to insure they don't lose whatever vested interest they have in Sudan.

Doing business with Saddam's regime while it existed,

And while Iraq was supposed to be sanctioned, lets not leave that tidbit out.
posted by a3matrix at 7:45 PM on August 25, 2004


I've been way too busy lately to follow everything that's been going on over there, but I did notice that Bush's defense bill put in $95 million for the people of Darfur. This is significantly less than the $350 million that Kerry said the UN needed in this article posted earlier in the thread.
posted by john at 8:06 PM on August 25, 2004


The UN has a real effectiveness/credibility problem in Africa ever since the Rawandan massacre.

And in Europe since Srebnica.
posted by semmi at 10:46 PM on August 25, 2004


how many people can we (god fearing americans) liberate in a year? if we did help them out, their soccer team would probably just bad mouth us anyway ...
posted by specialk420 at 12:06 AM on August 26, 2004


I really hope that people stop saying things like that eventually.
posted by ed\26h at 1:51 AM on August 26, 2004


Paramus: I accept that such complications certainly will not have helped the current situation and I’m glad we can agree that they were not necessarily the cause. However, there is no rational reason to dismiss an argument against the war simply on the grounds that the nation presenting it has engaged in unethical business practises.
posted by ed\26h at 3:32 AM on August 26, 2004


PP, always the circuitous way to dare I say it something approaching consensus. ;).
posted by johnnyboy at 3:57 AM on August 26, 2004


"unethical business practices"?! That sounds like you're describing Verizon's billing policies, or something. We're talking here about providing sustainance to a murderous regime in the name of making lots of Euros (or whatever). Perhaps if that wasn't done, the war wouldn't have been necessary in the first place; perhaps the threats of war would have been taken seriously, and Saddam would have caved.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:25 AM on August 26, 2004


The severity of the charge is really quite irrelevant – you can replace the term “unethical business practises” for “worst crime imaginable to humanity” if you like; their having committed any wrongdoing is not a good reason to have dismissed their arguments against the war. To rely on the idea that the war was necessary begs the question. If we accept that it was, then any arguments put forward as to why it was unnecessary cannot have been sound; which is precisely the proposition at issue.
posted by ed\26h at 5:19 AM on August 26, 2004


ed-26th: ever hear of the idea of Dual Loyalties? Recusal? Corruption? Ethics? You'd do well working in Albany, as a New York legislator: you'd feel right at home.

But please, don't sit on any juries I'm dealing with.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:06 AM on August 26, 2004


ed\26h. It needs to be asked: ARE YOU FRENCH?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:13 AM on August 26, 2004


ed\26h. It needs to be asked: ARE YOU FRENCH?

- mais non!
posted by johnnyboy at 7:22 AM on August 26, 2004


OK. Sorry. And actually, I don't want to paint with too broad a bush. There are plenty of decent, ethical people in France--they just don't run the government,
posted by ParisParamus at 7:25 AM on August 26, 2004


OK. Sorry. And actually, I don't want to paint with too broad a bush. There are plenty of decent, ethical people in France--they just don't run the government,

- Sounds remarkably similar to where I live.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:59 AM on August 26, 2004


Paramus: Lets not get distracted by irrelevant issues such my own personal motives for presenting my arguments, my nationality or my character – for what it’s worth (precisely nothing) no, I am not French. The idea that I am trying to communicate is that the motives behind certain arguments being put forward (either those of nations who opposed the war or my own in this thread for that matter) do not affect the validity or soundness of those arguments. The only rational way that a line of reasoning can be rejected is when it is shown to be either invalid or unsound; to do so because the one who presents an argument stands to gain from that argument being accepted is ad hominem circumstantial. Even if we are to accept that dismissals on such grounds are reasonable, why can we not be equally justified in dismissing the arguments of the US at al, in favour of war, simply because they stand to financially gain from the conflict?
posted by ed\26h at 8:07 AM on August 26, 2004


Well, assuming, such, arguendo, then you have the corrupt US seeking to create a democracy over which it can exert power, versus corrupt axis of weasel seeking to maintain influence by keeping the Saddam status quo. I don't buy into that dichotomy, but even on those terms, the US' position wins out.

As for why I don't buy into it, the short list of evidence includes even those countires opposing the war having voted for sanctions, having condemned Iraq in almost two dozen resolutions, and the same countries believing the Iraq had WMDs.

So the only real difference between, say, France and the US, is/was that the US had the balls to hold Iraq accountable, while sans serious military, sans backbone Europe didn't care to do so.

As for the Sudan, I really haven't a clue as to whether a military or humanitarian intervention can accomplish much (other than make us rich Westerners feel good).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2004


As for the Sudan, I really haven't a clue as to whether a military or humanitarian intervention can accomplish much

thanks for clearing that up paris.

perhaps you can tell the viewers what the US has "accomplished" in Iraq - other than replacing saddam with one of his former thugs as the new leader?
posted by specialk420 at 2:51 PM on August 26, 2004


That was not useful.
posted by ed\26h at 1:09 AM on August 27, 2004


Paramus: But remember, the fact that dismissing arguments on circumstantial grounds is fallacious means that we are not at liberty to work from that position – something you appear to have done in you last post.
posted by ed\26h at 1:28 AM on August 27, 2004


As for the Sudan, I really haven't a clue as to whether a military or humanitarian intervention can accomplish much.

Well, I think a fourfold drop in infant mortality rate is worth fighting for. The World Food Programme has documented that MSF saved 570 from starvation and helped 2000 with moderate mulnutrition in the Kalma camp alone last week. There's scores of other camps where aid agencies are working. Again, lives worth fighting to save don't you agree?

C'mon - put your money where your mouth is.
posted by dmt at 11:40 AM on August 27, 2004


Dmt: I wasn't suggesting we shouldn't try!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:47 AM on August 27, 2004


Hepatitis E triples in conflict-torn Darfur
posted by homunculus at 4:23 PM on August 27, 2004


« Older Alternative Olympic medal tally...  |  Mr. M, Live and Direct from Ir... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments