Raging Bull

Kerry's a wuss. Dubya's a doof. How can anybody vote for either of these clowns?

The students raised the genocide in the Sudan as something the American government ought to address.

It seemed like a good moment to discuss the genocide in Iraq. But it turned out that this topic was not covered in their alternative reading list. If it was discussed at all in class, these particular students missed it.

In any case, Tamayo dismissed the killing.

"That's a wasp way of thinking," said Tamayo. "If this happened in Canada, we wouldn't intervene. [The Iraqis] are not like us."

She maintained that we felt we knew better than the Iraqis what was best for them because they are not white and therefore need our help.

As an example of how he proposed to confront the evil of genocide, Professor Leaños suggested that if one left things alone, things would work out. As an example, he offered Spain's Franco, who, once his dictatorship was over, was replaced by enlightenment.


It is not surprising that Saddam Hussein's killing fields are not on the radar screens of the anti-war activists at ASU. The genocide in Iraq has been nearly invisible on the campaign trail and in the press.

One study found that in a 10-week period earlier this year, the New York Times mentioned weapons of mass destruction 191 times and mass graves just six.

"By conservative estimates, at least 290,000 people are missing in Iraq, and the answer to their whereabouts likely lies in these graves," according to Peter Boukaert, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.

The difference between a repugnant dictatorship like Franco's and a genocidal regime like Hussein's begs the question of intervention.

Can you simply wait out genocide as Professor Leaños suggests?

Can you negotiate with genocidal regimes?

A man who grapples with these issues instead of ignoring them was pessimistic about good intentions and benign neglect.

"Diplomatic intervention is not particularly successful," observed Joe Stork, HRW's Washington director for the Middle East. "I'm having a hard time thinking of a single place where diplomatic intervention was successful. You always need troops."

Stork admits that the figure of 290,000 victims is a conservative, prewar estimate that has not been updated by HRW.

"It's possible that the actual number is closer to 400,000, yes," said Stork.

In fact, the United States Agency for International Development identified 270 mass graves. Working with forensic teams form Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden, USAID also suggested 400,000 casualties. No one knows precisely.

What is known is that whatever the number is, the genocide in Iraq was one of the worst in the 20th century, with a death count far surpassing anything seen in the Sudan or Bosnia.

Stork explained the difficulty of raising the Iraqi genocide as a topic at the United Nations and as a point of international concern.

"We have been absolutely frustrated," said Stork. "Iraq in the '80s was a beautiful case, a case where diplomatic intervention should have occurred. There wasn't a peep from the international community. In the '90s, Richard Butler, the weapons inspector, was repeatedly invited to speak at the U.N. For years, we and Amnesty International argued for human rights inspectors on the ground in Iraq."

Stork's efforts were ignored by the U.N. He was informed that Iraq did not welcome human rights inspectors, as if weapons inspectors were embraced by Hussein.

"The member states, and particularly the Security Council, are reluctant to confront genocide," observed Stork.

Stork's list is too short. Who in the world chooses to confront the killing?

Neither party made an issue out of genocide at its convention.

And those critical of Bush refuse to acknowledge that the overthrow of Hussein stopped the genocide.

There is something so insistently out of place with Democrats, moderates, liberals -- bleeding hearts all -- and their refusal to confront Hussein's genocide that I cannot help but wonder if Islamic bloodshed, like Rwandan, is simply too foreign to elicit sympathy.

Hollywood, which pumps out a steady stream of product on the Jewish Holocaust, is oblivious to the genocide in Iraq.

When genocide in Iraq is mentioned in liberal circles, it is an accusation directed at the American government over the notorious Oil for Food embargo. Ramsey Clark and a long list of muddled thinkers were positively apoplectic at the embargo, which, frankly, was a diplomatic effort to confront Hussein, who, at that point, had not only engaged in genocide but had cost nearly a million lives in his ruinous war with Iran and hundreds of thousands more with his invasion of Kuwait. While Oil for Food was permeated with corruption, and Hussein siphoned off billions of dollars to construct palaces, critics reserved their scorn for the very idea of the embargo. With both a diplomatic embargo and force of arms drawing vehement criticism, one was left with the burning of holy candles as the only risk-free way of confronting evil.

Peewees like Dennis Kucinich, who occupied center stage at the Democratic convention, had nothing to say about the extermination of the Iraqi people. In fact, with nearly 3,000 Americans murdered by terrorists, the selection of a pacifist Smurf like Kucinich to address the convention is simply staggering.

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