Wednesday, July 27, 2005

the most extreme lambastions

well, all the editorials are lambastin' away at the prez again for his 'passivity in regards to darfur.' well, not all of them. one was bemoaning the awareness-bracelet fad, noting that people seem to feel if they've bought the bracelet, they've won the war.

but anyway, reading these columns, i begin to wonder: what is bush supposed to do?

decry the slaughter? certainly. i'm sure the un's done that too. but if the un proves anything, it's that talk is cheap. the massacrists (that's too good to be a word) of darfur are not going to turn around and go, 'by golly, we've upset old W. perhaps we should call it quits, in the name of humanity.'

is he supposed to deploy forces? we're already spread so thin that on most days, the editorial pages are lambasting our increasing number of casualties. (or maybe not lambasting...lamenting.) of course, during the holocaust, force was one of the best things america could contribute...but is this the same kind of situation?

please enlighten me. i'm a simple youth.

what should g.w. do?

maybe he should buy the bracelet.

(ps. i fear that i have used the word 'lambast' incorrectly this whole post. i now have some vague memory floating around in my brain that 'lambast' is some kind of sewing operation.)


Blogger parcequilfaut said...

You have used the word correctly. To "lambast" someone is to use a forceful verbal attack or deliver a highly charged criticism. And you substituted "lament" correctly as well. (Yay, history of tutoring grammar and writing mechanics!)

Now, on to the point.

W. could use his incredible influence with the U.N. to get them to get up off their butts and do something about Darfur.

He could ask his so-called "Coalition of the Willing" for the War on Terror to contribute a few peacekeeping detachments apiece, to avoid the U.S. military taking the burden of yet another holding action.

He could activate a process I know has a name but can't remember, where refugees from a given area are given limited assistance to get into the United States and the situation in their country is taken as prima facie evidence that to return them would be to place their lives in danger (which keeps them safe from INS while they are taking care of citizenship requirements). He could call for one of his "faith-based initiatives" to cover the cost of actually transporting folks.

But in the end, you're right; he might as well just "buy the bracelet". I'm getting to where I hate those things with a passion, even when they support causes I like. They're the new colored ribbons and they annoy the crap out of me.

There are probably more things Bush could use his unique position to do to help the people of Darfur, but it's nearly sunrise and I have not the wit to list them. Good question, though. Hope this answer helped a bit, and that you had a lovely Shabbat.

2:50 AM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Except one very minor thing: "lambast" doesn't take a preposition. I can lambast you, but can't lambast at/with/for you. Make sense.

5:08 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

thanks (; you have shed a candle on my befuddlement.
i'm not sure how much you can trust the un to do anything, regardless (should they honestly need prez bush to tell them darfur's in trouble? is it not their job to notice? and when was the last time they made a severe difference in any situation?) but you made some other good points. i didn't know about that nameless process. also grateful for the non-lambasting-at. i have made a serious faux pas, however, with your help, i may still be able to take my place as a librarian in due time. gracias!

8:23 AM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

It's complicated. Certainly the U.N. knows that there's a problem in Darfur. But without W. coming out strong against it (with Tony Blair and the rest of the CotW trailing behind him), they have little power to enact the necessary resolutions. The U.N. is not democratic, however much it claims to be; it's powerless without the support of the financial-power and nuclear-possession oligarchy.

A lot of what the President does isn't direct, much like the Pope. His statements (and this is true of most modern Presidents) aren't heartfelt expostulations of genuine emotion; they're polished by writers and press secretaries, because the President speaks "for" the United States. If he speaks out against the violence in Darfur, the United States is challenging the situation there. Global politics is complicated, and I don't claim to understand all of it. G-d knows I wish he'd come out and commit, but it'd be politically risky with his approval rating so low and with the dropping numbers attributed in part to questions about the war effort already in progress. Asking more military to deploy as peacekeepers when his current fight isn't going so well isn't politically feasible, even though it's the right thing to do. And while I'd love to think that I wouldn't be motivated that way were I the Grand Poobah, I can't guarantee that and won't speculate. It's the old lesson of Oedipus; power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The U.N. peacekeepers have done many good things in Africa, particularly w/r/t the Rwanda/Burundi situation. The problem is that U.N. forces can't operate as an army, precisely. They are peacekeepers, stuck in the unenviable position of trying to make peace through violence, not just accomplishing a military objective but taking pains not to destroy the countrys' infrastructure. The U.S. can pre-sell a contract to rebuild Iraq with private contractors. The U.N. doesn't have the resources for that. They've stopped genocides before; problem is, once the problem gets stopped, people stop caring about the long, slow rebuilding process, not just of damage from the mission itself but of fixing a shattered community. That part doesn't make the news, but it's 100% vital.

Good on you for even having a befuddlement. I didn't get befuddled by politics until I was older than you are.

11:57 PM  
Blogger fudge said...

thanks for the in depth explanation (; between you and the history channel, i may even be well-informed some day.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

He can ask for an emergency appropriation from Congress to pay for relief aid in addition to whatever's being sent from the UN. The problem is that because of all the fighting a lot of the aid that's being sent is not actually arriving at its designated destination. Certainly, money would help. But it doesn't come up often in press conferences of questions the President gets etc.
Also, when Secretary of State Rice was there two weeks ago, her escorts and some of the US journalists were physically roughed up...I'm not sure what else there is to do.

9:57 PM  

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