Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson is spot on in this morning’s column, “Losing the fight in Darfur.” Reacting to the U.N. Group of Experts report released this week, which found rampant sexual violence in camps for displaced people in Darfur, Gerson writes:
(…) America’s Sudan policy is in a holding pattern, waiting for the next crisis to refocus global attention. Meanwhile, women are raped, with impunity. Weapons are illegally imported, with impunity. Civilians are attacked, with impunity. And at some point, impunity becomes permission.
He also addresses the changing nature of violence in Darfur, not suggesting that the conflict is over by any stretch of the imagination, but rather noting that the status quo represents a genocidal policy by Khartoum that achieved its goal:
This is not, at present, the active phase of Darfur’s genocide, involving mass attacks on civilians. Instead, it is the evidence of a genocide that has succeeded. The Sudanese regime achieved its policy aims — targeting disfavored ethnic groups, destroying their way of life and forcing millions into camps. And now it is threatening to forcibly relocate these victims in 2010 — a plan of Stalinist scale and brutality.
Gerson pretty fairly sizes up the new U.S. policy toward Sudan as well, noting that the long-awaited policy review produced “more of a whimper than a bang” as a result of bureaucratic compromises. “Only a president and his secretary of state can insist on boldness,” he wrote.
They would do well to read Gerson’s column today.