Tuesday, July 20, 2004


The horrific, systematic gang-raping, torturing, and killing perpetrated by militias in Sudan should have been mentioned in these pages a long time ago.  Amnesty International reported yesterday that 30,000 people have been killed, that a million have been displaced from their homes by bombs, and that rape is being used as a weapon of war in Sudan's western Darfur region.
I confess myself rather ignorant of both international and military affairs.  But it seems to me that the U.S. should be in the U.N. demanding peace keeping forces from the Security Council.  The international community must get together a force of peacekeepers and get this country under control.  While the U.S. should not act unilaterally, it should be pushing the issue in the U.N.

It also seems to me that Christians should be deeply troubled by this humanitarian crisis.  The Agape Press had three stories about gay marriage yesterday, but it did not mention Amnesty International's report.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger jsm said...

How does one reconcile the goal of preventing genocide with opposition to war?

It's not as if the UN drops in peace keepers and suddenly everything is OK. Genocidal regimes aren't likely to abide by UN resolutions. No-fly zones would probably have to be enforced, military and government infrastructure destroyed, and inevitably Sudanese will have to be killed. The peacekeepers will also face casualties. American troops were sent to Somalia as peace-keepers in 1992, and that ended quite badly.

So from a social gospel perspective, when is it OK to use force for the greater good? In the "War: another neglected Christian issue" post, Bush was chided for not turning the other cheek. Should the black Africans in the Sudan also just turn the other cheek? How do we practically end genocide?

At 2:40 PM, Blogger ats54 said...

Well, I think there's an obvious solution to ending genocide. Kill off all the races except one, then genocide (and the desire to commit it) would end. Who's with me?

If it's ok to go into the Sudan to fight for the people where 30,000 have died, why isn't ok in some people's minds to go into Iraq to fight for the people where far more have been killed? Maybe the "weapons of mass destruction" didn't pan out, but people were being killed by their government unjustly for the entirety of Saddam's reign.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger jrl20 said...

I agree with ast's post above. I have never come out "opposed" to war on this website. What I have said is that war is presumptively evil and should be undertaken only when strictly necessary. (In the legal world, we might say that there must be "strict scrutiny" of the justifications for war.) My point about the Iraq war is not that it wrong BECAUSE it was a war but that it was A WRONG WAR -- i.e., not sufficiently justified.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger jrl20 said...

O.k., I misread ats's post the first time. I don't agree with the equation of the Iraq war with the humanitarian crisis here. In short, the CRITICAL distinguishing factors between my proposed solution to the crisis in Sudan and the Iraq war are twofold:

(1) The humanitarian crisis and justifications for intervention are greater in Sudan, and

(2) MORE IMPORTANTLY, I have carefully advocated intervention (a) THROUGH INTERNATIONAL BODIES (the United Nations) and (b) ON THE BASIS OF INTERNATIONAL CONSENSUS.

If we all agree that war should only be undertaken when strictly necessary, it seems to me that the fairest and surest way to ensure that this actually happens is to only undertake wars of liberation when there is an international consensus.

If an international force under a U.N. flag had gone into Iraq on the basis of a Security Council mandate, I would have supported the war. Bottom line.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger jrl20 said...

How is all of this a social gospel perspective? I think it's clear that Jesus held aggression and violence evil. The argument I've made is that Jesus would, thus, require AT LEAST very strict scrutiny of war.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger jsm said...

The criterion for UN approval to make military action proper from a social gospel perspective seems arbitrary.

I agree with the original claim that the US should be pressuring the UN for some sort of action. But the US should be pressuring the UN because it is right to intervene in the Sudan. It would be right to intervene regardless of whether or not the UN gives its blessing.

The strict scrutiny required for war seems entirely a matter of human perspective and based on the whims of politics. The United States Congress is at least as democratic and deliberative a body as the UN Security Council (after all, how much does the Chinese veto represent the will of its people?) So why wouldn't US approval of humanitarian military missions be sufficient scrutiny?

At 6:21 PM, Blogger jrl20 said...

My requirement for UN approval IS BASICALLY ARBITRARY. I am not married to the idea of UN approval. I am married to the idea that (1) war is presumptively evil and (2) it should not be undertaken without significant justification and deliberation. These ideas ARE NOT arbitrary from a social gospel perspective. The UN requirement is simply the best way I can think of right now to ensure high justification and deliberation. If that part is arbitrary then I plead guilty.

The UN is superior to the US Congress because it allows for a worldwide deliberation. The people of the US have very different interests than the people of China or France or Russia. The UN permits, however imperfectly, A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE to be brought into the deliberative process.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger ats54 said...

Does the US have any way to deliberate amongst it's worldwide ambassadors on issues such as this? These people should have some kind of reading on the pulses of the nations they work with. While it would still be a US slanted opinion, it would be more global than say the US Congress. Of course a glaring problem is that ambassadors are appointed, not elected - correct?

At 6:41 PM, Blogger jrl20 said...

Ambassadors do what the President tells them to do or he can fire them at will. The President is popularly elected.


Post a Comment

<< Home