While I am saddened and angered by the violence in the Darfur region of the Sudan, for the past few years I've been unable to get my head around why the US cares so much about Darfur.
There are humanitarian crises across the globe and no Americans care, but for some inexplicable reason, even the Republicans are all for "Save Darfur."
Why? I mean, since when do most Americans care when "brown people" are being tortured or killed. There are always a few of us referring to Human Rights Watch or Amnesty and crying out over the mistreatment of people in other states, but normally we are looked at with scorn at best.
So why, why Darfur?
I've come up with a reason, and you aren't going to like it...
Yes, I'm serious... oil.
Since World War II the US has struggled to take control of the oil-rich Middle East. However, while we have been bombing the hell out of (or into) the Middle East, China has been working with oil-rich states in Africa. They have control of much of Southern Sudan, and the US government views of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur as a means to take control (and protect) the oil there. As an Iraq vet and IVAW member put it this past weekend "If the US sends troops to Darfur they are going to first put them in the same place they put them in Iraq - protecting the oil fields." Indeed this sentiment has been echoed by many, oil fields first, people second - if at all.
A few weeks ago MadPriest posted a picture of a starving Darfurian child. We'd have to be incredibly naive to believe that that would move the American government to actually want to help people. No, but this does.