Tuesday, February 01, 2005


"Ours is much less"

Does this not tell you everything you need to know about George W. Bush's approach to foreign affairs?
U.N. Finds Crimes, Not Genocide in Darfur


UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 31 - A United Nations commission investigating violence in the Darfur region of Sudan reported Monday that it had found a pattern of mass killings and forced displacement of civilians that did not constitute genocide but that represented crimes of similar gravity that should be sent to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

In a 176-page report, the five-member panel said that its finding that genocide had not been committed "should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated in that region," and that "international offenses such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide."

The commission was appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan in October to determine whether genocide had occurred in Darfur, in Western Sudan, where about 70,000 villagers have been killed and 1.8 million driven from their land.

It was also asked to determine how anyone convicted should be punished, and it answered by saying it "strongly" recommended that the Security Council refer the Darfur crimes to the international court in The Hague. It said the crimes in Darfur met the jurisdictional terms of the 1998 treaty creating the court.

That course of action is favored by most members of the 15-member Council, but the United States has said it will vigorously resist because it objects to the court.

Among the violations of international law and crimes against humanity the commission found were indiscriminate attacks by government forces and militias on a widespread basis "including the killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging" and displacement."

The commission dismissed government claims that its actions were counterinsurgency military moves. "It is clear from the commission's findings that most attacks were deliberately and indiscriminately directed against civilians," the report said.

The Bush administration has repeatedly pushed for action against Sudan's government, saying its involvement in a campaign of violence against black African villagers amounted to genocide. At the same time, the administration has objected to referring the atrocities in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, a tribunal it has opposed from its inception on grounds that the court could bring politically motivated actions against American personnel abroad.

Mr. Annan has said the court is the "logical place" for Darfur crimes to be tried, and on Monday Australia, Canada and New Zealand circulated a letter endorsing such a move.

The administration proposed last week that the Darfur charges be sent to a new tribunal to be run jointly by the African Union and the United Nations and to be based at the war crimes court in Arusha, Tanzania, which is trying suspects in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Pierre-Richard Prosper, the United States ambassador at large for war crimes, briefed major countries at the United Nations on the American alternative, explaining afterward, "We don't want to be party to legitimizing the I.C.C."

Several Security Council ambassadors objected to that plan immediately, citing unnecessary duplication and the additional cost of starting a court instead of using one already in existence. Addressing that on Monday, Richard A. Grenell, the spokesman for the United States mission, said, "If you're going to talk about funding, about how much it would take for what we call the S. court, the Sudan criminal court, don't forget that there's funding of what it would take on the I.C.C. We're relatively confident that ours is much less."
In other words, the United States has no intention of permitting any international process that it does not own and control. Those arrogant, insular bastards. What the rest of the world wants is entirely of no importance whatsoever. Including our own allies. It's all about us, what we want. But when the rest of the world learns the only possible lesson and starts to assert themselves, what they want, this administration calls foul.

But, as Budd Schulberg wrote, "You can't eat your brother and have him." We are contributing to the growing jungle-ization of the world. Except, the world is eventually going to decide that it can do without us and start making decisions on its own. At which point, we can either use our great military power to be, not the world's only superpower, but merely the world's biggest rogue state. Or we can grow up and accept that our mission is to use our strength to serve the world, not to try to boss it around.
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