I was surprised to see a television commercial the other day that had aired many times prior to the November election, calling for President George Bush to "end the genocide in Darfur."
Certainly a supportable and worthy humanitarian sentiment, and definitely a job that needs doing. But just how is George Bush supposed to do it, when Darfur has never been a threat to our national security, yet Congress is talking about shutting off funding for the Iraq War, where the terrorists we are fighting do pose a threat to our national security?
How is Bush supposed to rally a country that already is tired of defending itself from people who killed 3,000 of our number with direct attacks on our homeland? What central theme would be the key to convincing the American people to make Darfur a priority over say, global warming, or saving the rain forest, or the global war on terrorism?
I agree with the concept completely. And if you go to the SaveDarfur.org website you will see that much more emphasis is placed on convincing the Untied Nations' new Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon to push the issue to the top of his agenda. So I can't help but wonder just what the emphasis on George Bush has to do with the issue.
If this is part of an international campaign to convince national leaders to join in the effort, the best place to do that would be the Untied Nations, which thus far has shown extreme reticence to get involved in any meaningful way. George Bush already has lent his support to the effort, but he isn't going to get anything done in Darfur or anywhere else unless Congress approves.
Both houses of Congress now are controlled by the Democratic Party, which wasn't the case last summer and fall when this commercial first was aired, so why hasn't it been updated to say "Us Congress, Stop the Genocide in Darfur."
Or how about, "America's Democrats, Stop the Genocide in Darfur."
Either of those commercials would be more realistic, and would have a far better chance of success. If George Bush pushes an international agenda that includes spending American tax dollars and committing American troops to a civil war, he is sure to run into a fire storm.
Look at the facts. In Iraq, some Iraqis are killing other Iraqis, but most of the fighting the US is doing is against Islamo-facists (terrorists,) some from Iraq, and many from other countries. Yet the Democrats in Congress and others are calling the fighting in Iraq a Civil War, virtually ignoring the fighting against both Iraqi and foreign terrorists, and look at the flak the president is taking over that!
Hardly a day goes by that we don't hear of a member of Congress holding a press conference to micromanage the War on Terror and denounce the president. Most of these people never served in the military and wouldn't know the intake from the exhaust of a jet fighter, but that doesn't stop them from claiming a sudden expertise in small-scale warfare. (They remind me of an office seeker in Connecticut a couple of decades ago who claimed he was a Vietnam veteran because he watched the war on TV each night.)
They seem to have as many ideas on how to drop everything and get out of Iraq as soon as possible, consequences be damned, and as many ways to couch these ideas in noncommittal phraseology as they have staff members. But their messages, regardless of how they are delivered, all boil down to leaving the region, abandoning the fight against terror and hunkering down at home until we are all killed or forced to convert, whichever comes first.
So if the president or any group of humanitarian organizations wants to get anything done in Darfur, the place to start is the Congress, and since that body is controlled by Democrats I would strongly recommend putting some pressure on the Democratic National Committee. The DNC in turn can put some pressure on its sitting Senators and Congressmen who can take to the streets and rally the faithful.
This strategy has the best chance of success, and is the least likely to be considered a political ad rather than a call for humanitarian aid. The situation in Darfur has been labelled a civil war, and millions of innocent citizens have been wantonly slaughtered or horribly abused.
This is so similar to the Democrats' description of the fighting in Iraq that the Save Darfur folks are going to have to find a different way to describe the situation there, or show the Democrats how to publicly contradict themselves with a straight face.
After all, there is precedent of a sorts for America's left to involve itself in the political affairs of foreign countries. Look at the money and personnel that the left poured into Australia last year in an unsuccessful effort to alter the outcome of the race for prime minister there.
If it is considered appropriate to interfere in the affairs of a longstanding friend and ally such as Australia, in effect trying to engineer a regime change, then I fail to see why we have a problem with Iraq. I guess there are nuances at work here that escape a cursory review, or maybe are just so convoluted that the logic behind them gets lost in the tangle.
Nonetheless, the fighting and killing in Darfur is a travesty and anyone with a shred of human decency should want it ended. But I believe any organization that truly wants some action in that part of the world has to direct its efforts toward workable strategies, not political gamesmanship.
There seems to be a ton of money behind the save Darfur organization, so reworking their commercial shouldn't be an issue. A couple of 'applied power' scenes of Congressional leaders like Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, John Murtha, and Carl Levin, intermingled with shots of their myriad speeches on the floor of Congress, would show the world who they are and display the immense power they wield.
That should get the ball rolling toward a real solution. Calling on George Bush to do something he supports, but doesn't have the political power to enact, might make some people feel good about themselves, but in terms of actually effecting change, it amounts to little more than a smoke show at a drag race strip.
There is a lot of noise and a lot of rubber burning, but in the end you only have spinning tires and a dragster going nowhere fast.
Sunday, March 04, 2007