“North of five million people have been slaughtered in the Congo this past twelve years, and nobody much (no, not me—how about you?) has lost a wink of sleep over it.” – John Derbyshire, TakiMag.com
Let’s say WWII happened all over again, and nobody basically cared. Let’s say better than 5 million people took a premature dirt nap, and the only reaction that ensued was a cynical shrug. We don’t have to pretend or even deem, any of this. It has happened in the Congo. From 1998 to today, more than 5 million people have been killed, at a fairly consistent rate of 45,000 per month.
This happens for three tragic reasons. First, the place is far from any major power’s sphere of influence. Nobody would run for POTUS on the slogan “We must save the Congo.” Imagine waging two significant wars in Iraq without the presence of oil. Also, as John Derbyshire points out with brutal honesty, most of the rest of the world shares no cultural affinity with these people. The average citizen of Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan or the United States looks at them with an unconcerned antipathy.
Secondly, all of the Congo’s neighbors are there to “help” them. Each bordering country has some interest worth militarily defending in the Congo. These interests have no compatibility with the internal peace and stability of any government that the Congolese would care to install. When you have neighbors like Robert Mugabe, Mobutu Sese Seko and Muammar Al-Ghaddafi, you’d almost voluntarily move to Detroit. What the Congolese haven’t done to purge their own people has been gleefully done to them by the meddlesome and malignant neighbors who could re-enact the Star Wars Cantina Scene without much Hollywood make-up.
Finally, this is what people in The Congo are familiar with. It’s the Devil they know. It’s what their Pappy and Grand-pappy done did, and it’s what many of the adult males in the average Congolese village have done since they were nine. They are not going to stop. As John Lennon famously sang, “War is over, if you want it.” I don’t think the former Beatle actually contrived of that lyric being a controversial conditional statement. Jeffrey Gettleman describes the type of person that the hapless hippie Rocker could never have imagined.
“I’ve witnessed up close — often way too close — how combat has morphed from soldier vs. soldier (now a rarity in Africa) to soldier vs. civilian. Most of today’s African fighters are not rebels with a cause; they’re predators. That’s why we see stunning atrocities like eastern Congo’s rape epidemic, where armed groups in recent years have sexually assaulted hundreds of thousands of women, often so sadistically that the victims are left incontinent for life. What is the military or political objective of ramming an assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Terror has become an end, not just a means.” (HT: Foreign Policy)
General Sherman once opined that at least 300,000 southern men had to die before the Confederate States of America were fit to rejoin the United States. The tragic history suggests that General Sherman, like Sir Mordred and Benedict Arnold, actually had a pretty valid point to his iniquity. He was simply stating the contra positive to John Lennon’s philosophical conditional. “The war isn’t done, if anyone still fighting doesn’t want it to be.”
From the Battle of Gettysburg through Appomattox, about 250,000 Confederate Soldiers died. Then, General Lee’s soldiers grudgingly agreed to throw in the towel to Ulysses S. Grant. Then, the war could be over.
The international community, African Nations in particular, had seen enough of what Hell looked like with the lid ripped off by 2003. They attempted to enforce peace. The Transitional Government was installed and Joseph Kabila was the lucky, new CEO.
Like getting to run Enron right after Ken Lay left town, Kabila’s job was thankless and impossible. In 2008, the New York Times reported on the tragedy.
Five years after Congo’s catastrophic war officially ended, the rate at which people are dying in the country remains virtually unchanged, according to a new survey, despite the efforts of the world’s largest peacekeeping force, billions of dollars in international aid and a historic election that revived democracy after decades of violence and despotism. (HT: Lydia Polgreen)
Quite simply put, The Congo will never know peace until the people that hate peace have assumed room temperature. Bored individuals in the Congo literally put loaded firearms inside the genital organs of females and then pull the trigger just to see what happens next. According to the published reports on the mayhem, this isn’t just one or two Ted Kaczynskis. Rape, in The Congo, is a routine weapon of war and form of relaxation.
If you would be bothered in the slightest by having that sort of person teach your bright and inquisitive child Algebra II Trig, than you probably can’t live in any sort of a peaceful, civil society with them either. There appear to be thousands of Congolese mercenaries who have been professionally trained to accept unimaginable sadism as a way of life. For the foreseeable future, The Congo, quite sadly is hopeless.
Which brings us to the question of just what would the Middle East become like if Israel were left to the tender mercies of Iran, Turkey and Syria. In answering this question, it helps to keep in mind how well the Palestinians got along with the Jordanians and Hafez Assad. Remember well also that the Sunnis and Shiites have shed innumerable gallons of Islamic blood in a futile attempt to stem their intractable theological differences.
Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey have all attempted to dominate the Muslim world. Turks have fought Arabs have fought Persians who have attempted to exterminate both Armenians and Kurds. Take Israel out of the equation, and no unifying Great Satan stands between the wolves and one another’s throats. Take Israel out of the Middle East and you get The Congo. Invent a car that runs on pig manure, and the great majority of American would probably no longer care.