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Jason Holliston
Friday, August 27, 2004  
Death by Government

One of my personal beliefs that I've developed over my adult years is that if you have the power to do good, you are duty-bound to use that power. The greater your power, the greater your responsibility. This idea certainly isn't a new one, but it's also not a given. The fierce opposition to the Iraq War stands as an excellent example of people adding their own addendums to this rule. "Sure, Saddam was a killing bastard, but..."

Put the Iraq War aside for a minute, and look west and south of there to Sudan. A horrible catastrophic is unfolding there, right now, and the world stands idly by. Look south of Sudan to Rwanda, and remember the genocide there 10 years earlier that left about 800,000 dead. Inaction by the world governments, and the United Nations, were a major factor to how great that number ended up being. The list goes on: the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia is another clear and fairly recent example.

Death by Government, a paper put together by R.J. Rummel and available online at the University of Hawaii's Web site, highlights these crimes in sharp relief, just by giving you the sheer numbers. 162,202,000 murdered by what he calls "democide", or "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder."

The world's democratic first world countries need to work towards a solution to this problem, and the faster the better. There's no excuse any longer to turn our attention to these situations and tell their governments, "Mass murder is no longer tolerated. Break the rules, and your sovereignty is worth nothing. We will stop you." This isn't the message that's getting through now. The regime in Sudan knows that the world will do nothing, as long as it parrots the words that sound good to diplomat's ears. It's time for that to change.

For those out there that ridicule the idea of spreading democracy through the Middle East, consider this:

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