- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 9, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

COMMENTARY:

For years, Darfur has been the left’s cause celebre. America’s liberal political and media elite have railed against the genocide perpetrated by Sudan’s government against the people of Darfur.

Even Tinseltown has gotten involved. Hollywood stars, such as George Clooney, regularly call for an end to the mass atrocities. Yet, for all their hand-wringing and grandstanding, they have failed to stop the slaughter.

Now, actress Mia Farrow has decided to break the will of Sudan’s genocidal regime with the ultimate weapon: a hunger strike.

“I am fasting in solidarity with the people of Darfur and as a personal expression of outrage at a world that is somehow able to stand by and watch innocent men, women and children needlessly die of starvation, thirst and disease,” she said in a blog posting on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Web site.

Hunger strikes, however, mean nothing to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He is Africa’s Adolf Hitler, a ruthless dictator bent on annihilating the people of Darfur. His forces, in conjunction with Arabic-speaking Janjaweed militias, have systematically murdered hundreds of thousands of Darfuris. More than 1 million have been ethnically cleansed, driven from their homes to refugee and displaced-persons camps. They are facing mass starvation and dehydration. Darfur is on the verge of becoming an African holocaust that will make the Rwandan genocide seem modest in comparison.

Instead of taking decisive action, the international community has dithered. The United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, NATO - they refuse to halt Khartoum’s rampaging marauders. In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Gen. al-Bashir. The ICC charged him with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. His response: He expelled or shut down 16 major international humanitarian agencies. Gen. al-Bashir is not only brazenly thumbing his nose at the ICC, but he is on the verge of completing the destruction of Darfur. Without the aid groups, millions of Darfuris will die.

The contrast between Darfur and Kosovo is stark - and exposes the profound racism in the Western and Arab worlds. Serbia’s brutal crackdown against the breakaway province of Kosovo rightly prompted Western intervention. NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign saved tens of thousands of Kosovars from Belgrade’s genocidal grip. The United States and the EU declared that atrocities on European soil were unacceptable; the Arab bloc insisted that the Muslim Albanians be protected - at all costs.

But when African black Muslims (and Christians) in Darfur are being slaughtered by predominantly Arabic forces, the reaction is mostly silence and appeasement. In fact, at a recent summit of Arab nations in Qatar, Gen. al-Bashir was greeted as a triumphant hero. Iran and Hamas have criticized the ICC indictment, and praised Sudan’s strongman for “standing up” to the West.

Darfur reveals the disastrous consequences of dovish noninterventionism. Nearly every “soft power” tool has been tried: multilateral diplomacy, deference to the United Nations, global war-crimes courts, a reliance on regional organizations, moral suasion and humanitarian cooperation. Still, the slaughter continues unabated. Darfur is a severe indictment of liberal foreign policy - and millions are on the verge of paying the ultimate price.

As I have argued for years, only one thing will bring Sudan to heel: U.S.-led military intervention. A strategic air campaign against Khartoum’s key military and administrative targets will smash Gen. al-Bashir’s ability to wage war. Inserting Western ground forces, along with bolstered AU peacekeepers, into Darfur will stop the killing. As in Kosovo, the region could then be made a U.N. protectorate.

But this will not happen - no matter how long Miss Farrow’s hunger strike lasts. Darfuris are dying - and will continue to die - because most Americans and Europeans believe that Western blood is more precious than African blood: They will not risk their troops being killed for Darfur. Increasingly, the same is true for Iraq and Afghanistan. We are no longer willing to sacrifice blood and treasure to extend the blessings of civilization to strangers.

Gen. al-Bashir is close to achieving his final solution - and he should be hanged for it. Yet, having taken responsibility to end the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time, the antiwar left only given false hope to the starving victims. Darfur is liberalism’s shame.

Jeffrey Kuhner is president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank.

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