We need a no-fly zone in Sudan...
Nat Hentoff argues that Obama needs to act asap...
What about American involvement in the no-fly zone? During his presidential campaign, President Obama urged an end to the atrocities in Darfur. And on March 10, the Sudan Tribune reported that after a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Obama "urges a strong, unified stand against Sudan's expulsion last week of 13 humanitarian agencies that had provided the majority of aid in Darfur."
However, if President Obama is expecting real-time, real-life U.N. involvement - aside from clouds of words - to end the genocide, he is, as old-time labor organizers used to say, talking pie in the sky. Four days before Mr. Obama and Mr. Ki-moon solemnly conferred, "the U.N. Security Council failed to agree on even a nonbinding statement about the expulsion of the aid groups." (March 10, Sudan Tribune).
But if NATO and other European forces supplied fighter aircraft for the proposed no-fly zone, Gen. McPeak and Mr. Bassuener insist that an American contribution would be essential, "especially of aerial refuelers and command-and-control aircraft. About a squadron of each type of aircraft would be more than enough to end the impunity Sudanese military aviation now enjoy."
They recognize that a political solution will still be necessary for Sudan to rejoin civilization, but "by taking away the Sudanese government's freedom to use air power to terrorize its population, the West would finally get enough leverage with Khartoum to negotiate the entry of a stronger U.N. ground force."
Furthermore, notes Nicholas Kristof, who has actually been on much of the ravaged ground in Darfur (The New York Times, March 8): "Sudan cares deeply about maintaining its air force, partly because it is preparing for renewed war against South Sudan." And inside the government in Khartoum, there is growing dissent against Gen. al-Bashir's added disgrace of Sudan by the expulsion of humanitarian agencies that had been keeping millions of Darfurians alive.
What, if anything, do you have to say, President Obama, about helping to energize the creation of a no-fly zone so that, on your watch, we can finally say "never again" - and mean it? Gen. McPeak, who strongly advocates a no-fly zone, having been co-chairman of Mr. Obama's presidential campaign, should speak directly to the president about the plan.