An article in the Washington Post several weeks ago tells you much of what you need to know about Scott Gration, former General and an early supporter of Obama (who was looking around for generals to support him). He spent some time in his youth in the Congo and Kenya, which supposedly qualifies him as an “expert” on a vast place called “Africa” and on a particular place, quite different from either the Congo or Kenya, called the Sudan.
Here’s a bit from that article:
Although Gration describes the approach as pragmatic and driven by a sense of urgency, his critics here and in the United States say it is dangerously, perhaps willfully, naive. During a recent five-day trip to Sudan, Gration heard from southern officials, displaced Darfurians, rebels and others who complained uniformly that he is being manipulated by government officials who talk peace even as they undermine it.
Still, at the end of the visit, Gration maintained a strikingly different perspective. He had seen signs of goodwill from the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, he said, and viewed many of the complaints as understandable yet knee-jerk reactions to a government he trusts is ready to change.
“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies,” said Gration, who was appointed in March. “Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”
As you might imagine, reaction to Gration’s comments have been less than positive. The Save Darfur Coalition, Enough Project and Genocide Intervention Network released a joint statement expressing concern the Administration’s strategy for promoting peace in Sudan:
The quotes from Special Envoy Gration are deeply troubling. The time is well past for the President, Vice President and Secretary of State to exert much-needed leadership over U.S. diplomatic efforts with Sudan or face the prospect that Sudan will descend into much broader violence….
Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition added, “It’s jarring to hear talk of ‘gold stars’ and ‘smiley faces’ for a regime headed by an indicted war criminal. We have always insisted that the best way to deal with Khartoum is a sensible balance of pressures and incentives. The pressures part of that calculation seems to be missing in General Gration’s comments. The Sudanese government is primarily responsible for creating the political instability in Sudan and bears the brunt of the responsibility for ending it. And blaming the victims for not being more open minded towards their oppressors defies logic.”
We can only hope that as Administration’s national security team meets to discuss the its long overdue Sudan Policy Review the discussion is about a balanced set of incentives and disincentives (or “smiley faces” and “frowney faces”?).
Scott Gration was selected to join Obama’s pre-election “team” because, as a former military man, he provided useful protection from suggestions that Obama was anti-military, and also because Gration had as a son of missionaries spent some time in Africa, and that also appealed to Obama.
But we do not have to seek the cover of generals — some generals are intelligent, and some are dumb, and some are quick learners, and some are hopeless at grasping new things. And we who are not particularly interested in whether or not someone spent time “in Africa” because we know that African states and peoples vary widely, as widely as do the states and peoples of Europe. We would never think of lumping them together, so that if Scott Gration did not spend time in the Sudan, and does not understand the history of the slow and seemingly inexorable Arab move southward at the expense of black Africans, that is, had he not lived in Sudan itself, his experience elsewhere in Africa is of little value.
The main thing to remember about Scott Gration is this appalling sentence, and what it reveals about how he thinks. Though he made this remark more than two weeks ago, it fortunately has haunted him. Just days ago I heard an NPR interviewer querying him about the sentence. By now he’s had two weeks to practice a kind of studiedly casual, laugh-it-off that-sentence-was-completely-misunderstood potted reply, but it won’t wash. It won’t wash at all.
Here is that sentence from Scott Gration (a far cry from General Pyotr Bagration, who fought the Grande Armee of Napoleon to a tie at the Battle of Borodino, until wily Kutuzov took over and, by doing nothing more than recognizing and exploiting the most ferocious enemy of the invading French and Prussians — that is, General Winteer — accomplished so much):
“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies,” said Gration, who was appointed in March. “Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”
Look at that sentence again, and again. Print out that sentence. Put it on your refrigerator. Email it around. Remember, the country in question is Sudan, where nearly 2 million black Africans in the south were, over the past two decades, put to death by direct murder or deliberate starvation. And in the last few years, in Darfur, the Arabs of that Arabs-first-and-only regime killed another 400,000, in circumstances of astounding cruelty that have been well documented.
Sudan offers an opportunity, all right, but not the one that Scott Gration, with his cookies and smiley-faces and gold stars, or handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement, thinks the Sudan offers.
You can find a discussion of what might be done in the Sudan in many of my articles and posts at JW, but since they do not, alas, date (the advice having not been taken, or perhaps even noticed) I feel it appropriate to include one of them here, as an express rebuke to the naÃ¯ve and therefore ultimately cruel policy favored by Scott Gration, Tame General by Appointment to the Court of Barack Obama, a policy that offers, as a way of dealing with the mass murderers impelled by Jihad (against both Infidels and, because Islam has always been a vehicle of Arab supremacism, against non-Arab black African Muslims in Darfur) only his enthusiasm for the Geopolitics of Cookies and Smiley-Faces:
Fitzgerald: Black Africa: The inattention, neglect, and betrayal should not be repeated (April 14, 2006)
Black Africa is a battlefield between Islam and Christianity. Individual Christian missions, and are doing, have done a great deal of good. But Christians in black Africa need more support, tangible and visible, from the outside world. The spectacle of Muslims in Nigeria being allowed to throttle the Christians (Ibo and others) of the south during the Biafra War (1967-1969), with Egyptian pilots strafing Ibo villages and only two countries in the world (Ghana and Israel) willing to recognize an independent Biafra, should never be repeated. The forces of Biafra were fighting against the “Jihad” (Col. Ojukwu’s own word in the Ahiara Declaration), while what was seen as the Christian world did nothing. It did not help the cause of Christianity in Africa.
The spectacle of the Western powers, held in Africa to represent Christianity, doing nothing or very little while, almost at will, Muslim Arabs continued to kill, or starve to death, by taking away their cattle or destroying their crops, the Christian and animist black Africans in the southern Sudan, and did this without any consequences over several decades, with nearly 2 million dead a result, also did not help the cause of Christianity in black Africa.
It is time for something dramatic to be done so that the Western world makes clear it will take the side of the Christians where they are under assault. Should a new Biafra be declared, the Western world should support and not shun it. In the Sudan, the Americans should — but this will await, as so much awaits, removal of American forces from tarbaby Iraq — enter, and smash in the first hour the capacity of the Sudanese government to conduct its renewed campaign of murder (so much for that “treaty”) in the southern Sudan and its newer mass murder in Darfur. Then they should seize both the southern Sudan and Darfur and hold them, to protect the black African populations, until such time as a referendum on self-rule can be held without interference by the government in Khartoum.
The spectacle of American soldiers, having dealt a blow to whatever Sudanese army or air force exists, and having cleared Darfur overnight of Janjaweed (General Mattis might take particular pleasure in being put in charge of that), being warmly greeted by black Africans in both places, will be hard to disavow. What will the U.N. do? Deplore the protection of black Africans, either Muslim or non-Muslim, in Darfur and the south? And what will the E.U do? They can not, at this point, denounce the Americans for such an obviously humanitarian mission. It should galvanize support for, and encourage intelligent understanding of, the need for this kind of counter-Jihad.
In that event, what would the Arab League do? It has been foursquare behind the Sudanese government in Darfur, as it was in the southern Sudan — or where it was not approving openly, then it was approving secretly. For who cares about non-Muslims being killed or Arab Muslims killing non-Arab Muslims? There was not a syllable of protest over the massacre of the Kurds by Arabs in Iraq. There was not a syllable of protest by the same Arab League over the use of the criminal law to punish the Berbers for using their own language and preserving their own culture for so many decades. (Recently, the Algerian government was forced by pressure from Berbers within Algeria to change those laws). What will the Arab League do? Declare the divine right of Arab Muslims to rule over and massacre non-Arab Muslims?
All that is being suggested is that word should get around that the Western world will no longer support countries or peoples equally. It is going to give its aid only to those who are not engaged now, or in a possible future, in Jihad, but to those countries where non-Muslims live, or where they currently withstand Muslim pressure, inside and out, and if given aid can make Christianity more attractive to those who might otherwise be tempted by Islam. The Infidel wold should eliminate economic, diplomatic, and other kinds of aid for countries where the jihad ideology is being spread. An example of a country deserving of special attention and support is Ethiopia. Its efforts to divert some of the headwaters of the Nile for irrigation projects should be encouraged, and threats by Egypt against Ethiopia taken note of, and Egypt put on notice. And that Jizyah to Egypt that the Americans keep sending, should end. Egypt is not our “ally” nor our “staunch ally.” It is a country that officially and unofficially has done everything to promote anti-Americanism and antisemitism (government television beaming a series based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for example), it has failed to meet any of its solemn commitments under the Camp David Accords, and Copts have been under attack for decades — it was during the reign of Saint Sadat that Pope Shenouda II first went into self-imposed isolation as a protest against the government. Egypt needs to be taken off the American Infidel dole, until it changes its ways completely. Let all Muslim states be made aware that they are now on their own — and they can go, hat in hand, as the “Palestinians” should be made to, to their fabulously rich Muslim brothers in the Gulf, and see how that works out. And that change in policy will be noticed throughout Africa, and not merely by Egypt’s immediate neighbors.
Finally, in black Africa, more needs to be done to publicize the longest and most devastating trade in black Africans — that of the Arabs. And that information should not only be spread in Africa, but in the Western world, since Islam’s missionaries have deliberately targeted black populations on the assumption that they can continue to present Islam — falsely — as an appropriate vehicle for the expression of dismay with, or alienation from, the larger society. For Islam suppresses music and art and science. Islam does not encourage “social justice”: good god, just look at Saudi Arabia, look at the zamindars and generals of Pakistan, look at the corrupt military rulers of Egypt and Algeria, the petty kings of Jordan and Morocco, the police-state of Tunisia — one uninterrupted series of despotisms. It is also false that Islam discourages “materialism.” Pay a visit to the souks of the Gulf statelets or Saudi Arabia — shopping is all there is. There isn’t anything else.
But more important, for helping to immunize important target populations for jihad subversion in the Western world, would be a clear and deliberate sign of Western protection of black African Christians from continued depredations, persecution, and even mass murder, by those pushing Islam in Africa. Black African Christians were abandoned to their fate in southern Nigeria and southern Sudan. That inattention, that neglect, that betrayal, should not be repeated.
And here’s another more recent one (May 14, 2008) on the subject of the Sudan:
Fitzgerald: The Sudan, American Power, and Samantha Power
Samantha Power is one of the two people (the other is Nicholas Kristof) whose careers have benefited from their deep expressed concern over the situation in Darfur. No one in particular made a career out of the mass-murder of non-Muslims in southern Sudan, now about to be put back into full gear, or seemed as deeply concerned over the deaths of about 2 million non-Muslims, as they do about a tenth or a fifth that number of Muslims in Darfur. This may be because they can present the Darfur business, incorrectly of course (google “Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism”), as having “nothing to do with Islam” — because, you see, both murderers and victims are Muslims: it is only Arab Muslims killing non-Arab Muslims.
One wonders if Samantha Power has given any thought to what motivates the Arabs in Khartoum, who have supported the Janjaweed to the hilt, and to the other Arabs, behind the Arabs in Khartoum, in Cairo and elsewhere, who have been running diplomatic interference for the Sudanese Arabs — Egypt and the Arab League in particular. They never dropped a tear as they contemplated what was going on in Darfur, but are quite pleased with themselves at having prevented, or at least greatly delayed, the only thing that might stop the continued massacres in Darfur, and the renewal of massacres in the southern Sudan — that is, intervention by a few thousand American troops, who could seize both Darfur, and the southern Sudan, and hold that territory until the inhabitants could express their desires in a referendum on independence.
For there is no way — none — that the Arab Muslims will ever stop (in 1900 the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was 90% black African) in their goal of killing or pushing out or reducing to a state of helplessness the black Africans, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
If she cares to figure out as to how what has been happening in the Sudan is prompted by Islam, is explained, both in the south, by the murderous hatred for Infidels that Islam inculcates and that the primitive masses of Muslims so fixedly believe, and in Darfur, by the Arab supremacism that is part of Islam, that would represent a geopolitical, and in the end a moral, advance.
And if she wishes to go even farther, and promote the idea of an American intervention, and wishes to understand that the way to win political support for such humanitarian intervention is to present it, truthfully, as a way to limit the downward march of Islam through east Africa (Ethiopia is the next target, one that the Egyptians are most interested in because they want an islamized, and submissive-to-Egypt Ethiopia give up plans to divert, for the purposes of irrigation, part of the headwaters of the Nile) that too would be an advance.
But it will require her to start to look steadily, and whole, at Islam. Can she do it?
The American government is missing its chance in Darfur and in the southern Sudan. It could use as justification any number of actions by the Sudanese government to seize both the southern Sudan and Darfur — or at the very least, to destroy every plane and helicopter in possession of that regime, as a warning that it must stop.
That might be enough to change the balance of forces. It might be enough to hearten non-Muslims and non-Muslim Arabs (who need to be reminded at every step of how Islam has always been a vehicle for Arab supremacism) both in the Sudan and in Ethiopia. And such a move would hearten Christians in southern Nigeria, in Togo, in the Ivory Coast, and in Kenya and Tanzania. They need a boost. They need to believe that Islam is on the run, that what they see as the Christian West will defend them, as it did not defend the Biafrans during the 1967-69 War. It will send a message to Egypt: stop telling Ethiopia what it can or cannot do with the headwaters of the Nile, some of which Ethiopia quite rightly wishes to use for irrigation projects; the Nile does not belong to Egypt alone.
And the destruction of the Sudanese airforce will be a signal as well to the Arab countries that Dar al-Islam can not only be kept from expanding, but can be forcibly contained, or even subject to violent contraction. Remove those planes and those helicopters, in one fell swoop. It should not take much. It would send a message the way messages are sent in the Muslim world:
This far, and no farther.
Nothing else remains to be done — except to get those in power, or those close to those in power, to listen.
There. Those are the kinds of articles that should long ago have been circulating in the banana-peeled corridors of power in Washington, in an administration that ostentatiously prides itself on listening to all kinds of views never heard before. But such articles are unlikely to be read, or even grasped, by the likes of Scott Gration. Or by his brother-in-lay-down-your-arms-and-woo-and-win-the-Muslims, General Jim Jones, the one who is giving Brzezinski a run for his money in anti-Israel animus. Geopolitically, what Gration recommends as a sensible way for dealing with the regime in the Sudan, and what Jones recommends in dealing with those pesky Israelis who should long ago, in his view, have stopped those awful settlements and simply “made peace” with the “Palestinians,” is comical. And morally, their views on these matters are comical. Or, considering the positions they hold, we must borrow from the idiolect of Polonius: Geopolitically, their views are tragical-comical.
Surely there are hard-headed, educated or self-educated (especially about history, and about Islam) generals in Washington, by no means necessarily enthusiasts for the follies in Iraq and Afghanistan, who know where and when force should be deployed, and why force is only one of the many instruments that can and must be used to counter the Jihad, that war without end, against the world’s Infidels, their states, their societies, their everything.