African Force Too Weak to Stop Darfur KillingsDon Cheadle and John Prendergast have this op-ed in USA Today
Armed with a mandate to stop the widespread atrocities in the violence-prone western region of Darfur in Sudan, a militarily weak African Union (AU) monitoring force is finding itself weighed down by a shortage of troops, funds, logistical support and communications equipment.
It is not too soon to learn lesson No. 1 from the pathetic international response to Darfur and Rwanda: Despite the almost ritualistic pledge of "never again," no coherent international system or process is in place for responding to genocide and other atrocities. What does exist is chaotic and futile finger-pointing, while the slaughter goes on.Nicholas Kristof continues to write about Darfur in the New York Times
If President Bush wants to figure out whether the U.S. should stand more firmly against the genocide in Darfur, I suggest that he invite Mr. Steidle to the White House to give a briefing. Mr. Steidle, a 28-year-old former Marine captain, was one of just three American military advisers for the African Union monitoring team in Darfur - and he is bursting with frustration.David Scheffer, who was the top US negotiator for the International Criminal Court for the Clinton administration, says the US has nothing to fear. Scheffer himself has many reservations regarding the court and led the US delegation in voting against the Rome Statute in 1998. But in the case of Sudan, he sees things differently
"Every single day you go out to see another burned village, and more dead bodies," he said. "And the children - you see 6-month-old babies that have been shot, and 3-year-old kids with their faces smashed in with rifle butts. And you just have to stand there and write your reports."
Even if you're the greatest skeptic of the ICC - and there are many of them in the Bush administration - there simply is no strong argument they can come up with as to why the ICC should not be seized with the Darfur situation. An ICC investigation of Darfur need not expose any US national, or the US government, to any criminal liability whatsoever before the ICC.And for whatever it is worth, a new poll from the Program on International Policy Attitudes shows that a majority of Americans - 60% - favor referring the genocide in Sudan to the ICC rather than creating an ad hoc tribunal, as the Bush administration prefers.