THE conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region is ruinous and bloody. An estimated 200,000 people are dead. Two million more are said to be scattered from their homes. Allegations of "genocide" again haunt the international community. The human urge for the outside world to respond to this crisis is pressing.
But stop for a moment to ask a difficult question: what should the response be?
Send in troops is the apparent answer. Darfur is a violent place. Gun-wielding thugs are robbing food convoys, burning villages, raping women. Surely soldiers are best equipped to deal with fighting, not vulnerable aid workers. Extra troops, working alongside the several thousand African peacekeepers already in place, should help to quell the violence.
This call for military intervention has been taken up by human rights activists and Hollywood celebrities alike. The word "Darfur" may describe a geographic region, but it has also become a rallying cry against general Western indifference to Africa's suffering.
Sending in more troops was exactly the solution worked out last weekend. After
months of hard negotiations — while the torment in Darfur kept on — the Government in Sudan grudgingly accepted a joint United Nations-African Union plan to deploy 23,000 peacekeepers. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>