Our View – U.S. not to blame for Darfur apathy

The ongoing atrocities in Sudan are undoubtedly tragic and, according to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, they’re only going to get worse.

According to an article in the Oct. 6 issue of the Los Angeles Times, Sudan has warned the global community that sending United Nations peacekeeping troops to quell the problem would be seen as a hostile act. Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir went so far as to liken a peacekeeping effort by the U.N. to the invasion of Iraq and a Zionist effort.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Sudanese conflict and nearly 2 million have been displaced since the latest clash that started in 2003, according to the CIA’s Web site on Sudan. These things have had a tremendous effect on neighboring countries, especially Chad and Ethiopia, both of which have been forced to accommodate the displaced people of Sudan, making the latest issues a global problem.

The conflict in Sudan has recently taken a turn for the worse, with what appears to be a government-funded attack on Muslim farmers by Arab militias, also known as janjaweed.

Despite the global impact, the United States is bearing the brunt of the blame for the lack of action in Sudan. The United States certainly deserves some of this blame, with the president’s denouncement of the violence in Darfur as genocide and, according to an article in the Oct. 9 issue of The New Yorker, scolding the U.N. and claiming that its ” ‘credibility’ is on the line.”

But the blame is not the United States’ alone.

According to the article in The New Yorker, countries like Egypt and Morocco have been pointing the finger at the United States for our lack of action. All the while, however, these countries have failed to lift a finger of their own.

Yes, the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP), the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year, is much higher than the countries surrounding Sudan. But it takes more than the effort of one country to put a halt to humanitarian issues.

Sudan’s neighbors need to take a more proactive stance in denouncing the actions of the Sudanese government and begin the effort to stop the destructiveness of the janjaweed.

Most of the countries surrounding Sudan, including Libya, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, are either countries that observe Islamic law or countries where the population is predominantly Muslim. They should see these acts against their neighbors and Muslim brethren and be compelled to be more proactive against these atrocious acts.

The United States cannot simply act alone, and to be quite frank, we are already stretched pretty thin, militarily speaking. The United States should not be not the world’s watchdog or enforcer of morality, regardless of our recent actions abroad and at home that may imply the contrary.

It must take a collaborative effort by the international community to effectively send a message to the Sudanese government that its bolstering of the Arab groups that are massacring Muslims is abhorrent and reprehensible. If there is anything to be learned from our recent actions in Iraq, it is that we cannot go it alone; we need the support of other countries.

Acting collectively would undoubtedly send the Sudanese government a clear message. But as it is, the only thing all countries appear to be doing equally is pass the buck.

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