From our friend Ed Rackley at The Old Town Review.Darfurdestructionvillages1_1

My role in this race is to inspect and evaluate the performance of the recipients of our donated public funds. I check on whether the NGOs and UN agencies, swallowing millions of dollars a month, are providing the best possible relief services and supplies, and whether Darfuris have enough water, food and medicine to survive their sub-human conditions. Because I’m on a team of government advisors, we try to learn what civilian atrocities are ongoing and the identity of the perpetrators. But without a reliable system of justice, such knowledge is not tantamount to power. In Darfur where impunity reigns, knowledge is crushed by power. I realize this makes me a cog in the wheels of the “international community,” for better or worse. Western critics of foreign aid—Noam Chomsky and David Rieff come to mind—win extra plaudits by railing against the international community for its nebulousness and unaccountability. But like many impressions that cohere in direct proportion to your distance from them, this one dissolves under scrutiny. Unlike Chomsky, Rieff is a globetrotter, and generally game to visit hotspots like Burundi or Bosnia during the war. Unfortunately for pundits, vacationing in a warzone, even with journalistic intent and a moral calling, is a fallible guide to the intricacies of a conflict.