George Kennan (1904-2005) on the one thing most to be feared

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Posted March 21, 2005

Finally we must have courage and self-confidence to cling to our own methods and conceptions of human society. The greatest danger that can befall us in coping with this problem [he was referring to Soviet communism—today, substitute terrorism] is that we shall allow ourselves to become like those with whom we are coping.

From Kennan’s famous “Long Telegram” to the State Department, 1946 (emphasis added).

Major humanitarian crisis continues in Congo
Posted March 21, 2005

The International Rescue Committee estimates that the fighting in Congo since 1998 has taken 3.8 million lives since 1998. This is the highest toll in a conflict since World War II. “Life is a nightmare for these people,” says the chief of mission in Congo for Doctors Without Borders. “Militias prey on the girls. Militias take the people’s food. On top of that, they demand weekly taxes. Even if there is a clinic, people have to pay, but have nothing to pay with.”

Just one Congolese family illustrates what is happening. Izeldeen, 75, was prosperous; he had 105 sheep and goats, 25 camels, and three donkeys. Every one is dead, stolen or bartered for medical care. Three of his seven children are dead and about half his grandchildren. All are now living miserable lives in one of the dreadful refugee camps.
(Marc Lacey in The New York Times “News of the Week in Review” 3/20/05).

According to this article and many others, the greatest need is to stop the fighting. Just as in the Rwandan genocide, the UN peacekeeping troops are chronically underfunded and undersupplied because the major Security Council powers (including us) are indifferent. 9 UN peacekeeping troops were killed and mutilated last month in Congo.

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