The mounting death toll in Darfur tests Annan's stirring words. But when it comes to ending genocide, words require swords. Fine words cannot protect the vulnerable from dedicated killers -- that job demands soldiers.
Annan knows this. Annan, with the support of the United States and Great Britain, wants to reinforce the hapless, ineffective African Union peacekeeping force now in Darfur. In August, the Security Council approved a U.N.-led force. But the resolution "invites" the consent of the Sudanese government in Khartoum to approve deploying U.N. troops.
Khartoum interpreted the diplo-speak "invites" to mean it could nix a U.N. force. Sudan said, "No, thanks," and called a U.N. force in Darfur "a European imperialist invasion. " Scratch "imperialist," and Khartoum's killers have the trace of a legitimate case, for a credible U.N. military force entering Darfur would be invading to halt Khartoum's state-sponsored policy of ethnic cleansing...(so) Khartoum has its "Janjaweed" militia proxies ravage, then torch, villages it suspects support Darfur rebel factions.
Ending the Darfur genocide means terminating Khartoum's savage policy. That means peacekeeping forces combating the militias would be waging war against allies of the "host" Sudanese government...
Credible combat power -- well-armed, well-led, well-supported soldiers with full authority to use decisive, deadly force -- can be deployed in Darfur.
That credible combat power must be backed by credible leaders, however. That means leaders with the spine to intervene despite Khartoum's intransigence and leaders with the grit to continue this difficult mission when (it is inevitable) the fighting gets dirty, good soldiers die and tragic mistakes occur.
Despite Annan's fine words, outside of London and Washington such leadership is not in evidence. Until it appears, "the international community" deserves to be shamed.