As the country reflects on the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, I’ve noticed the United States has been involved in a lot of wars.
Since World War II, we have been directly or indirectly involved in no fewer than 19 wars.
But how have we decided to choose which wars we’re involved in and which ones we aren’t?
There are any number of factors that decide if and when we go to war.
But when I look at the number of wars we’ve chosen to take part in, I see a distinct pattern.
Overall, nine of those wars took place in the Middle East, and in the 21st century, all of those wars were also in the Middle East.
Relatively well-known conflicts that involve ethnic cleansings, or genocides, include the Cambodian genocide, the Rwandan genocide and the War in Darfur.
But the United States did not involve itself in any of these conflicts.
In three years, between 1 and 3 million Cambodians were massacred, and in 100 days, 800,000 Rwandans were killed, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica.
The War in Darfur is ongoing.
The Janjaweed have killed 400,000 people, and the genocide has displaced about 2.7 million people. The President of Sudan, Omar al Bashir, has directed the mass killings.
But the U.S. government didn’t do anything in Cambodia or Rwanda, and it continues to stand back and watch people die in Darfur.
Why do we let these things like this happen?
The 1948 Convention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (known as the “Genocide Convention”) said, “The Convention confirms that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or war, is a crime under international law, which parties to the Convention undertake ‘to prevent and to punish,’” according to the United Nations.
The reality is we are too blinded by economics and greed to stop ethnic cleansing.
Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, but why did we really go into Iraq?
Weapons of mass destruction. Another thing Iraq had and still has is oil.
We went into Iraq for ourselves.
It seems oil is the primary concern of the United States and the rest of the world.
My point is that if we are going to interfere in others’ national affairs, we need to be more consistent with when we get involved.
We shouldn’t just pick and choose when to go into a country.
We need to have a distinct plan.
We need to decide now when we go into a country and when we don’t.
If we feel a responsibility to oppose genocide, we need to stop all genocides, not just the ones that will ensure a good supply of oil or any other benefit, economic or otherwise.
As we move into the future, we need to be more consistent with our international affairs and reflect on what grounds we go into a country and what grounds we do not.