Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Darfur - Another Opportunity to Bash Bush

Nina Shea on National Review Online writes about George Clooney's apparent partisan motivations for his recent Darfur activism:

"Clooney, as well as other Save Darfur leaders, also agrees that the Bush administration has done more for Darfur than any other government. (snip)

So when Clooney urges a “multi-national” peace keeping force going into Darfur, he must be envisioning a large and powerful army legitimized by the inclusion of troops from other Muslim and Arab nations and sanctioned by the United Nations’ Security Council. And Bush would then have to be blamed for failing to persuade the Arab League and China to vote against their own economic interests in order to defend the human rights of insignificant, impoverished African tribes against the oil-rich Khartoum regime. (snip)

Yet Clooney does not seem to have any intention of criticizing these countries—in his view, attribution of blame is to be reserved almost exclusively for the Bush administration. Rarely does he criticize any other government by name—not even the government of Sudan, the author of the genocide. His discussion of the facts of Darfur focuses on the victims and on the United States, not on the perpetrators in Sudan and their abettors in China, the Arab League, and the U.N.

Since seizing power in 1989, Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir has led a regime responsible for the deaths of at least two and a quarter million people, making him the bloodiest dictator alive. It is important not to forget that Darfur is Bashir's second genocidal campaign against his countrymen. He waged the first against the African traditional believers and Christians of south Sudan, resulting in two million deaths, with most occurring over the period of a decade, beginning in the early nineties. Elie Wiesel characterized this as "genocide in slow motion." Employing similar tactics to those now used in Darfur, the government, and the Bagarra tribal militias it armed, regularly bombed, burned, and looted southern villages, schools, hospitals, and food distribution centers; they enslaved and raped thousands of women and children; and they relocated entire villages into refugee camps. As in Darfur, deliberate mass starvation, accomplished in part by banning international relief, was the regime's most lethal weapon.

The death toll in the South from a conflict that ended only last year represented ten times the number dead so far in Darfur. Clooney’s voice was nowhere to be found when this was happening. But still, why doesn’t he ever talk about it now and relate its many obvious similarities to Darfur? Mentioning Bashir’s role in the southern genocide would be an important means of pressuring the regime. Could it be that, since most of those deaths occurred during the Clinton administration, and President Bush took the lead in successfully ending it, Clooney sees no political gain in bringing it up? Could it be that he is more interested in shaming Bush than Bashir?"

Read the whole thing here: Clooney Does Darfur