Jeanne D'Arc has an excellent piece up on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
She wrote something that hit me with a sickening irony. Congo is blessed with vast mineral wealth. And one of those minerals, coltan, runs basically every electronic device you can think of. Including the computer I'm using right now to write about the horror of Congo.
There were always diamonds and gold, but the technology boom of the 90s created an enormous need for coltan, which is used in computers, cell phones, play stations, DVD players, jet engines, and -- if you can stand another ironic note -- weapons systems. The DRC holds more than 80% of the world's coltan reserves.
My god, I feel sick. I feel incredibly sick. The computer I use, the cell phone I gab to my friends about what happened at our last party, the CD player I listen to on my way to and from work, the DVD player I'm thinking about buying, the digital cameras ( I just ordered a new one) I own, the laptop I want for Christmas, the N64 and Playstation my friends and I play with . . . all could contain this mineral mined or plundered from a Central African country soaked in the blood of millions. An African Holocaust, aided by me and tens of millions of unknowing others. Nausea. Waves of Nausea.
Do I feel guilty, and should I? Yes. Will that help the Congolese? No.
I have argued, on this site, for an overwhelming multinational massive military and economic intervention.
I feel I must be absolutely clear, because watching this African Holocaust occur, and that's precisely what it is, has me enraged. I want an overwhelming multinational military force to go in there and pacify the region. I want those child soldiers disarmed and put in schools. I want schools built. I want infrastructure created. I want absolutely everything we're doing for the Iraqis done for the Congolese. And I want it done real soon. Preferably now. Why the hell do I feel like I'm screaming into the wind? Sending troops is a start, but troops without a mandate is not. I also want near constant media attention. Every day, we hear about some partisan scandal. Or we hear about some high-profile murder case. Meanwhile, millions of people are dying! Where's the compassion?
I am drawing the line here.
Yet, others disagree, including the Bush Administration.
But Negroponte took no position on the future shape of any U.N. force. "The United States favors a technical rollover to enable a discussion of the issues. We did not specify a period of time," he told reporters.
He said the central African nation was just too large for peacekeepers to manage. "Our view is that no amount of peacekeeping forces are going to be able to resolve this situation if there isn't the political will both in the Congo and in the neighboring countries."
What the hell does that mean? "Political Will?" That smacks of "let the natives kill each other. My Cell phone needs to run."
Oh yeah.... Bechtel (yeah, THAT Bechtel) is there. Puke.