From The Grio — The question that’s quietly and in some quarters not so quietly asked is why did President Obama relatively quickly and forcefully demand that Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi step down or else. The or else in this case were unleashing air strikes, and a volley of cruise and Tomahawk missiles at him and his military. The stated reason was this was a humanitarian action to prevent the massacre by Gadhafi of thousands of innocents. Yet, theU.S. did nothing a decade and a half ago when nearly a million Rwandans were massacred, and has been ineffectual on the documented rapes and massacres of thousands in the Congo.
The short answer is that President Obama was not at the helm during the Rwanda genocide. Bill Clinton was and it’s been well documented that the world knew and watched in pained horror at the slaughter, and the UN and Clinton ignored pleas from UN military officials on the ground there to intervene. Clinton has often mused that theU.S. failure to act is still one of his greatest regrets. The estimated half million rapes and murders in the Congo are another matter. The rapes and murders have as with the Rwanda massacre been well documented, and humanitarian groups and even some in the UN have screamed for greater intervention.
WATCH ‘TODAY SHOW’ COVERAGE OF THE LIBYAN AIR STRIKES
President Obama has dispatched Hillary Clinton to the Congo and deplored the killings and rapes; Clinton pledged $17 million in U.S. aid to fight the sexual genocide there and appointed Howard Wolpe as a special advisor on the region. But none of this has translated out into direct action to stop the sexual and murderous genocide there. The U.S. has sanctioned the estimated 20,000 peacekeepers in the country. But just how effective they’ve been, what their mission, or even mandate is, is still a subject of fierce debate. The charges of corruption and the UN’s complicity with the Kabila regime in the Congo have flown hot and heavy. The U.S. contributes about a quarter of the funding for the mission about $337.5 million annually. But the sore point is it contributes no troops to the peacekeeping mission.
The deep suspicion is always that when slaughters by brutal dictators of their own people occur the sole criteria of whether there will be U.S. and even UN direct intervention is that the victims not have black skin, whether it’s the Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone or the rapidly developing civil war in the Ivory Coast. These conflicts as in the other African wars almost always take dead aim at the massacre of women, children, and the elderly, the innocents. President Obama has voiced deep concern about the conflicts, but the bigger question is even if he wanted to directly intervene or arm-twist the UN to do more, let alone the U.S. Congress to do more to stop the genocidal strife in these countries, could he? The answer is a painful no, and the reason why goes beyond the simplistic issue of poverty and race in Africa.