Letters

Readers share their thoughts on the current crisis in Darfur and voice their support for Howard Dean.


Salon Staff
June 7, 2005 11:00PM (UTC)

[Read "Two Million Tragedies We Can't Ignore," by Jonathan Steele.]

Jonathan Steele's statement that "ultimately, the main responsibility rests with the government of Sudan. The people of Darfur are its citizens" is like saying Hitler's government was responsible for German Jews because they were citizens too. Ultimately the responsibility of stopping a genocidal government rests with the rest of the world, starting with the world's greatest superpower.

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-- Jake Hewitt

The recent article about Darfur proposed a solution: "The best single measure to relieve the deepening crisis would be rapid enlargement of the African Union's monitoring force and a new mandate for it to confront the gunmen rather than merely make reports." To rephrase, "The people of Darfur should sit around and wait for some international committees (from neighboring countries with very limited resources and their own significant internal problems) to come up with a solution and implement it. Hopefully not too many of them will be killed by the Janjaweed before their neighbors make up their minds about what to do." Notice that this plan involves the victims (the people of Darfur) waiting and hoping for someone to save them.

Waiting and hoping is a terrible strategy. Waiting and hoping does not work. People who wait and hope for protection end up waiting for the rest of their lives, which is often not such a long wait.

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If the people of Darfur sit around and wait long enough, the problem will solve itself because there won't be any of them left. So I guess from that perspective, Mr. Steele is right. His proposed solution is the same as what the Janjaweed propose: kill them all, problem solved.

On the other hand, if the people of Darfur are provided with cheap, reliable arms and some training, the problem will also solve itself. A better solution to the Darfur crisis, which no one seems to propose, is to provide the victims with the means to defend themselves. The Janjaweed will very quickly decide to go home and rethink their lives and maybe find some other career path after they go on some rape-and-pillage mission and half of them don't return.

-- Joe Leonard

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Why isn't someone following the money? Who are the Janjaweed (random bandits? tribalists? Mujahedin?) And who is financing them? And why?

I was a journalist in the southern Sudan in the mid-1970s, and have followed the tragedy of that sad land ever since. Let me tell you: The gold has been flowing from Saudi Arabia since this termless war started in 1955. The Saudis' interest? Not oil, but fertile land. With irrigation from the Blue and White Niles, the southern Sudan will become the Bread Basket of Africa, feeding the Saudis and facilitating the Islamicization of the entire sub-Sahara -- which is, and always has been, the goal of radical Islamists in Khartoum and Saudi Arabia.

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-- Harry Minetree

[Read "Getting Some Distance From Howard Dean" in War Room.]

Howard Dean is on the right track in insulting Republicans, and Joe Biden and John Edwards are wrong. The Democrat leadership has been far too polite to and about Republicans. Smiling while Republican attack dogs chew off a leg isn't civil; it's cowardly. Democratic voters want people who fight back. I say we should start making fun of Republicans -- make them the subject of a new generation of jokes about their bogus religiosity, their bigotry and their kowtowing to their bosses.

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Howard Dean: Keep it up!

-- Merrily Helgeson

I didn't hear any Republican politicians apologize during the 2004 election, when certain people denigrated the service of John Kerry in Vietnam, and I didn't hear them rushing to heal any hurt feelings when that old couple in a 527 ad referred to people like me and my wife as a "sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, latte-drinking liberal freak show."

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Fuck you very much, Sens. Biden and Edwards. Dean doesn't speak for you? You sure as hell don't speak for me. In fact, you disgust me.

-- Ben Henderson

I'm tired of Republicans being free to air any insulting and hateful rhetoric they feel entitled to use on a given day. I've put up with it for most of my life. A little rough and tumble is entirely in order. These sorts of measured, diplomatic approaches by Democrats is what have made the party seem toothless in past elections.

The only distinction that needs to be made is that the comments were directed at the Republican leadership (who really haven't done an honest day's work in their lives), and not at the Republican voters (many of whom, unfortunately, seem happy to work many honest days to support a corrupt and wasteful government).

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-- Sam Nelson


Salon Staff

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