Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) has called for the deployment of US troops into Sudan to stop the on-going genocide in Darfur. Biden, who was attending a multinational meeting at the UN on the Darfur crisis, stated that he would impose a no-fly zone and send American soldiers into the region immediately, and also said that President Bush is considering implementing a large sanctions regime against Sudan if the Sudanese government continues to refuse to admit a larger peacekeeping force.
It's nice to see Biden go out a limb like this; the rest of the congressional delegation (Sen. Bob Corker [R-TN] and Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]) weren't willing to go as far as Biden and call for an intervention. However, despite the designation of the crisis as a genocide by President Bush, an armed intervention is unlikely to happen. The UN is far too gutless and hamstrung by its bureaucratic procedures to pass a Security Council resolution, the US military is strained by the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there is very likely little will -- political or public -- in the US right now for such an intervention.
But, even if Bush decided to send troops, how would such a move be greeted by those who have opposed the use of force in Iraq? An intervention in Darfur is almost guaranteed to be "illegal" in that it will not have the sanction of the UN Security Council, just as the invasion of Iraq did not. Does that mean the US shouldn't intervene? The US public has shown a willingness to tolerate the casualties sustained in Iraq...but will that continue in Darfur? Or will it be a repeat of Somalia where, unconvinced of the national interest at stake, a few US casualties undermined the whole operation?
If such an intervention is to occur, President Bush, along with Senator Biden and the rest of Congress, need to prepare the US public. Specifically, they need to make the case of why the US should expend its treasure, and more importantly, why US soldiers should risk their lives and even die to protect the Darfuris. As I have said before, this is not a hard case to make. But it needs to be made, or else an intervention in Darfur, or anywhere else the US intervenes for humanitarian purposes, will follow the same road as Somalia.