On genocide and 'organ theft'.
Misinterpreting the genocide in Darfur
Marc Gustafson's op-ed on Aug. 19, "The 'genocide' in Darfur isn't what it seems," is misleading.
His most distorted claim is that activist pressure somehow cost lives in Darfur by diverting US government funding away from humanitarian assistance for displaced Darfuris and toward civilian protection. But even his own numbers show that US appropriations for humanitarian assistance in Darfur increased by more than 20 percent in the time period he references.
Indeed, the US government's annual financial assistance for humanitarian aid in Darfur has been one of the only things that has consistently gone right in the world's reaction to this ongoing crisis, providing funding at or near the targets set by relief organizations.
Save Darfur's efforts to spotlight what was clearly an unmet need for peacekeeping and civilian protection in Darfur did not diminish the allocation for humanitarian aid, both because that's not the way the system works and because that was never the intent.
Quite the opposite, the intent was to push for the creation of a stronger and fully funded peacekeeping force to complement the humanitarian lifeline already in place. And that's exactly what happened – the United States provided additional funds for the struggling undersized African Union peacekeeping force, pushed for the creation of the hybrid United Nations-AU force, and then provided additional funding to help field that larger force. All of these funds were additional to the US's strong financial commitment to funding humanitarian aid in Darfur, not in conflict with that commitment.
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