David Corn writes a hard-hitting post regarding Clinton and the Rwandan genocide. It turns the left's pet slogan, "Bush lied, people died," and replaces it with "Clinton lied, hundreds of thousands died."
I agree that Clinton's inaction during the slaughter was, by far, the greatest blemish on his presidency, and one that's utterly unforgivable. I also think that it is equally unforgivable on the part of the nation. There was barely any agitation from any quarter (outside the usual human rights suspects) for an intervention. The Republican Party was in the heat of its "we're not the world's policeman" schtick, it would have fought any allocation of US troops to the region tooth and nail. Especially after Somalia, the use of American troops to stop African bloodbaths was just too tempting a target. In fact, we know Republicans would have taken that response, since they did just that when Clinton partially redeemed himself and intervened to stop the Kosovo slaughter. This isn't to forgive or absolve Clinton, rather, it is to note that being bystanders genocide is a crime that falls on all our heads. And with Darfur probably past the point of no return--we'll soon have yet another mark on our collective wall of shame.
An honest perspective on President Clinton's tenure will relegate his dabbles with Ms. Lewinsky to a troubling footnote, compared to his inaction in Africa. Similarly, it might be more to President Bush's shame that Darfur and its millions will have happened "on his watch" than WMDs or Plamegate or what have you. It's a non-partisan sin, contra some, both Clinton and Bush are roughly in the same boat when it comes to their respective genocides--an uncomfortable silence. While Uncorrelated argues that at least American has brought some attention to the dispute. However, to be honest--at least as a government, we haven't. And basically the only concrete action we have taken, labeling the conflict a "genocide," may have been worse than nothing, legitimizing the notion that a bona fide genocide is still ignorable and triggers no obligations on signatories of the Genocide Convention. Again, this shouldn't absolve the world for its silence--but it takes a rather perverse view of American obligations toward genocide victims to argue that merely saying the word "genocide" elevates our Darfur policy even marginally above abominable.