Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Lesson Not Learned

The one lesson that governments have learned over the years is that one cannot control groups. The U.S. learned that in Afghanistan where they trained the mujahideen and when the U.S. left, the mujahideen leaders created a little movement called Al Qaida. History is filled with such examples but governments rarely learn from their historic mistakes.

The Darfur crisis in the Sudan is well known. The Sudanese government trained Arab militias called the Janjaweed to essentially destroy villages that they did not like. As has happened in the past, this group has now mutated with some members turning on the government itself.

The conflict has grown even more confused and chaotic in recent months. Now, rebels fight other rebels, the ties between some janjaweed fighters and the government have frayed, and the African Union troops charged with quelling the conflict find themselves targets as well.

On one hand, this does not bother me. The people who supported these groups need to be taken out and show and if it turns out that these groups are doing the shooting, then so be it. The problem is that there are innocent people caught in the crossfire, as they always are, and these people have gone through that one cannot help but feel that all this should stop for their sake.

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