This war hurts the world

Kaelan Smith is a UC Davis creative writing student

What is inescapably true, regardless of your sentiments in so far as the war in Iraq, is that 130,000 American troops currently are assembled there. In addition, some of the most prominent countries in Western Europe, in opposition to President Bush, refuse to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Such massive deployment, without broad international support, means, unequivocally, that our ability to respond to other international crises is hindered severely. And this military encumbrance is frighteningly pertinent.

In the Darfur region of Sudan, the Arab Janjaweed militias indiscriminately are murdering black Africans in the region. The Janjaweed campaign has been so extensive that Secretary of State Colin Powell has deemed the massacre genocide. Members of Congress, too, have generated documents that liken Darfur to Rwanda, where, in 1994, between 800,000 and 1,200,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The war in Iraq was hastily and incompletely planned, and even if you think the mission was justified, President Bush undeniably weakened our international credibility. U.S. estrangement of former allies like France and Germany, though seemingly superficial in March 2003, is today applicable in two ways. First, because our troops make up the overwhelming majority of the ground force in Iraq, President Bush is not at liberty to dispatch them elsewhere in case of emergency. Second, the mistrust our government garnered by rushing to war under the guise of non-existent weapons of mass destruction has slit the throat of our credibility in the global community. In reference to Darfur, President Vladimir Putin of Russia recently cited our failed intelligence in Iraq as a reason for mistrusting our intelligence on the Darfur genocide.

Over 1,000,000 refugees have been displaced from Darfur into Chad. Darfur has a death rate four times what would warrant a U.N. designation as a humanitarian crisis. Our current president, who champions America as the world’s moral leader, is morally corrupt in the face of the Darfur genocide. America is stymied in Darfur for two reasons: Our own armed forces are stretched too thin, and the international community has been given an excuse—through the failures in Iraq—to ignore a genuine need for humanitarian intervention in a region of Africa that could drown even Rwanda in blood.

November 2 will give all Americans an opportunity to cast a vote and demand our president be held responsible for his grievous mistakes.