I haven’t been to hell or Sudan, but they sound a lot alike: nightmarish brutality, merciless tyranny, scorching heat and a high likelihood of being harangued by a Hollywood celebrity.
In the Darfur region of Sudan, the celebrity is George Clooney. I must have missed the memo that nominated Clooney as the media’s new secretary of state, to serve with media Secretary of Defense John Murtha and media President Hillary Clinton.
“It is the first genocide of the 21st century,” Clooney said after his first visit to Darfur, where he used his “celebrity credit card” to call attention to looting, murder, rape and refugees.
Good for him. If peace breaks out in Sudan, he may deserve some credit. But please, spare us the St. George of Clooney headlines. I don’t think he has an Oscar in foreign policy.
The last time celebrities told us to “do something” in Africa, President Clinton sent troops to Somalia in 1993 and we lost 18 soldiers. Then we quickly pulled out because we had no national interest there.
Now Clooney wants us to “do something” about Darfur, where Arab Muslims who control the government have murdered about 300,000 black Muslims. But where was Clooney during the past 20 years while 2 million Christians and non-Muslim black Africans were murdered in Sudan by Islamic fundamentalists who declared a jihad against “infidels” in 1983?
In 1881, the Islamic fundamentalist Mahdi declared himself “the successor of the prophet of God,” and urged his followers to kill infidels. Arabs killed Turks, Turks killed Egyptians and the British and Arabs took turns slaughtering each other. After a siege, Khartoum was looted and burned as part of Mahdi’s mission to kill infidels.
It sounds like a preview of Osama – who recently endorsed Darfur genocide as long as it includes “crusader Zionists.”
But for some reason, Clooney doesn’t mention Islamic fundamentalists. He blames President Bush instead. Maybe that’s because if Islamic fundamentalists are causing the genocide, Darfur is part of the war Clooney bitterly opposes, and Bush is right.
Clooney gripes that America “has been slow to respond” to Darfur. Not true. Bush has done more than any president or foreign nation: $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid and visits by a real secretary of state long before Clooney discovered Darfur.
But if Darfur is not at the top of the White House agenda, maybe it’s because the president has been busy stopping genocide in Iraq, where Saddam killed 500,000 to 1 million.
While Bush was busy fighting terrorists who want to bring genocide to America, Clooney was busy protesting a war in Iraq that liberated 26 million people.
And now he accuses Bush of “dancing around” the need to send Marines to Darfur.
Clooney also erroneously insisted “there was no connection between al-Qaida and Iraq” and said our government operates “exactly like the Sopranos.”
Hollywood foreign policy operates exactly like “The Simpsons.”
Peter Bronson is a columnist with the Cincinnati Enquirer and former editorial page editor of the Tucson Citizen. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.