Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 363- "On the brink of genocide"

Dear Mr. President,

The Cote d'Ivoire is, according to UN ambassador Youssoufou Bamba, on the brink of genocide. Ideally, I would think that the impending social implosion of an African nation a good reason to use US military power to protect civilians caught up in the violence. Of course, as we've overextended ourselves in Afghanistan, Iraq and our forays into Yemen and Pakistan, we simply don't have the military assistance to offer. We can hope that the UN or the African Union are able to keep peace and protect the innocent, but there is little, practically, that the US can do.

Perhaps it is naive of me to think that we should only use our troops to protect civillians, avoid genocide and keep peace. Perhaps chasing Bin Laden & the Taliban through caves is, in fact, a more effective use of our might, but I don't think our current military strategy has made us safer- indeed the number and complexity of our military engagements abroad seem to have left us in a strategically weakened position.

I'll admit that the proximity of The Cote d'Ivoire to Burkina Faso is heightening my anxiety about the crumbling political situation. I might not be so afraid if my best friend wasn't right next door. Still, I think that military force is best used to protect the weak preyed upon by the strong, to prevent the innocent from suffering whenever possible. I would rather see our troops in Cote d'Ivoire and Haiti than in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more stability could be achieved through education and infrastructure investment than any amount of troops and bombs.

I will hope that the Ambassador Bamba is incorrect in his assessment of the outlook for The Cote d'Ivoire, but should he prove correct it will be all the more frustrating to watch, helplessly, while my country is able to do nothing to stop it.

Respectfully yours,


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