Monday, June 04, 2007

We All Are Darfurians

The community of compassion (or the Deeply Concerned as I've call them) are worked up over Darfur. They've even put out commercials and have celebrities in their corner. And a number of politicians eager to minimize the impression of defeatism that their positions on Iraq reveal are gung ho to "do something." Using military force when there is no national interest is the pinnacle of concern.

Surely, the crimes being committed against the people of Darfur are cruel, massive, and worthy of being called genocide. But I have little patience for the cries of those who want us to "do something" to save the Darfurians.

These Deeply Concerned Americans would love American soldiers on the ground and pilots patrolling overhead in Darfur. But these soldiers and pilots would never be allowed to actually "do something." The only thing they'd be doing is demonstrating concern. The first time that the "doing" involved killing some bad guys, the Deeply Concerned Americans would be concerned about war crimes. And then some American corpses would be dragged through a dusty street and we'd leave since concern in not enough to stop those intent on genocide.

So for those who insist we intervene, where's your detailed plan about the intervention and the post-intervention plan? Where's the multi-volume report exploring each and every way the invervention could go wrong? What is your tolerance for the UN's continuing efforts? Shouldn't we give them the time to solve the problem? And the African Union, too, deserves a shot. And how do we know we've won and can leave? Plus, who will serve? How many children of the save Darfur coalition are in our military?

But as Steyn writes, when he notes one group's day of films, discussion, and a Sudanese dance troupe, the concern isn't so much for the Darfurians as it is for the "community of the concerned" who are urging we do something:

Very nice. But wouldn't it make more sense to try the Ledeen solution and save the Sudanese dance troupe for the post-victory party? "Salt Lake Saves Darfur" looks like doing wonders for "the greater Salt Lake community of compassion" but rather less for the people of Darfur. There is a grotesque narcissism in the determination of the Save Darfur campaign to embrace every strategy except the one that would actually save Darfur while there's anyone still left to save. The reality seems to be that these groups prefer to go the ineffectual dance-troupe route because it makes them - the "community of compassion" - the focus of things.

The community of compassion is only concerned as long as the focus is on dance troupes and discussions, and the weepy remembrance of the victimization of some benighted people whose national dance might be extinguished. Once it comes to the bloody work of stopping thugs? Well, they didn't sign up for that!

So today, the community of compassion asserts "we all are Darfurians." Today, of course. And yesterday we all were Americans. We know how that worked out. And there were others in the past who qualified for star-studded concerts and benefits.

And if the Darfurians are extinguished despite the concern so prominently displayed today, there will be others to rally the community of compassion tomorrow. For victims of genocide may come and go, but the community of compassion abides.