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(4,667 posts)
Wed May 11, 2016, 05:57 PM May 2016

Why did Bill Clinton decide to ignore Rwandan genocide? Would Hillary do likewise?

Last edited Wed May 11, 2016, 07:31 PM - Edit history (1)

Lets assume the country, like Rwanda, has no oil or other conspicuously valuable extractables.


The US and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Evidence of Inaction


"Despite overwhelming evidence of genocide and knowledge as to its perpetrators, United States officials decided against taking a leading role in confronting the slaughter in Rwanda. Rather, US officials confined themselves to public statements, diplomatic demarches, initiatives for a ceasefire, and attempts to contact both the interim government perpetrating the killing and the RPF. The US did use its influence, however, at the United Nations, but did so to discourage a robust UN response (Document 4 and Document 13). In late July, however, with the evidence of genocide littering the ground in Rwanda, the US did launch substantial operations—again, in a supporting role—to assist humanitarian relief efforts for those displaced by the genocide."

See also:

The Shroud Over Rwanda's Nightmare
By Michael Dobbs, The New York Times, January 9, 2014

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: The Assassination of the Presidents and the Beginning of the "Apocalypse"
April 7, 2004 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB119/

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Information, Intelligence and the U.S. Response
March 4, 2004 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB117/

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Evidence of Inaction
August 20, 2001 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB53/



US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide: Classified papers show Clinton was aware of 'final solution' to eliminate Tutsis

Rory Carroll in Johannesburg

Wednesday 31 March 2004 10.59 EST
Last modified on Thursday 1 April 2004 10.59 EST

President Bill Clinton's administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.

Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.

Intelligence reports obtained using the US Freedom of Information Act show the cabinet and almost certainly the president had been told of a planned "final solution to eliminate all Tutsis" before the slaughter reached its peak.

It took Hutu death squads three months from April 6 to murder an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus and at each stage accurate, detailed reports were reaching Washington's top policymakers.

The documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his senior officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.

"It's powerful proof that they knew," said Alison des Forges, a Human Rights Watch researcher and authority on the genocide.

The National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute based in Washington DC, went to court to obtain the material.

It discovered that the CIA's national intelligence daily, a secret briefing circulated to Mr Clinton, the then vice-president, Al Gore, and hundreds of senior officials, included almost daily reports on Rwanda. One, dated April 23, said rebels would continue fighting to "stop the genocide, which ... is spreading south".

Three days later the state department's intelligence briefing for former secretary of state Warren Christopher and other officials noted "genocide and partition" and reported declarations of a "final solution to eliminate all Tutsis".

However, the administration did not publicly use the word genocide until May 25 and even then diluted its impact by saying "acts of genocide".

Ms Des Forges said: "They feared this word would generate public opinion which would demand some sort of action and they didn't want to act. It was a very pragmatic determination."

The administration did not want to repeat the fiasco of US intervention in Somalia, where US troops became sucked into fighting. It also felt the US had no interests in Rwanda, a small central African country with no minerals or strategic value.

William Ferroggiaro, of the National Security Archive, said the system had worked. "Diplomats, intelligence agencies, defence and military officials - even aid workers - provided timely information up the chain," he said.

"That the Clinton administration decided against intervention at any level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in Rwanda."

Many analysts and historians fault Washington and other western capitals not just for failing to support the token force of overwhelmed UN peacekeepers but for failing to speak out more forcefully during the slaughter.

Some of the Hutu extremists orchestrating events might have heeded such warnings, they have suggested.

Mr Clinton has apologised for those failures but the declassified documents undermine his defence of ignorance. "The level of US intelligence is really amazing," said Mr Ferroggiaro. "A vast array of information was available."

On a visit to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in 1998 Mr Clinton apologised for not acting quickly enough or immediately calling the crimes genocide.

In what was widely seen as an attempt to diminish his responsibility, he said: "It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."

A spokesperson for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation in New York said the allegations would be relayed to the former president


Ethics Daily: Bill Clinton's Failure to Confront Rwandan Genocide as Genocide

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(4,667 posts)
3. are you crazy? What is the point of having a military if you cannot stop genocide?
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:04 PM
May 2016

One of the only situations that almost everybody agrees on.



(13,889 posts)
6. No, s/he's dead right
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:13 PM
May 2016

The US intervened in Libya because Ghaddafi was threatening to massacre those rebelling against him, and I think the intervention was justified under the circumstances. Hasn't stopped a lot of people complaining about it. Likewise a lot of people opposed the US' involvement in the Yugoslavian war. Things are rarely so cut-and-dried as they were in Rwanda, and for that matter pretty much every other country dropped the ball on Rwanda as well. It's easy to be wise with hindsight but at the time most people were shocked by the speed and severity of the slaughter there and didn't understand the tribal drivers of genocide.



(13,889 posts)
10. No I don't
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:20 PM
May 2016

Just because I hold a different opinion from you doesn't mean I'm uninformed. And if I was uninformed I wouldn't regard this as a good way to change that.



(10,007 posts)
13. Meh. Justify violence and suffering however you need to in order to assuage your conscience.[n/t]
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:49 PM
May 2016


(10,007 posts)
9. That's funny.
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:16 PM
May 2016

He didn't care about what the Left had to say (and we were saying it LOUDLY) about DOMA, Welfare Reform, NAFTA...


(464 posts)
16. Well I'm going to be the oddball...
Wed May 11, 2016, 07:54 PM
May 2016

...and disagree. The purpose of the U.S. Military should be the defense of the US. nothing more. MOOTW (military operations other than war) are great, such as disaster relief, but the only time the military should use its overwhelming fire superiority is when we are attacked. Now, I used to ask everyone if they were willing to give up there life for a good, righteous, noble cause, and pretty much everyone says yes because that is easy to say. But now I've started asking if they are willing to sacrifice the life of someone they love for the cause, maybe even see their naked bodies dragged through the streets? Not so easy to answer.


(12,689 posts)
4. He would have been accused of being a warmonger
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:06 PM
May 2016

You can't have all these standards and still come off as credible.


(474 posts)
5. she voted in favor of using cluster bombs in civilian areas
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:11 PM
May 2016

which i think says an awful lot about a person.



(34,845 posts)
7. Because he hates people and wants another mansion to add to his 35 others.
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:14 PM
May 2016

Geeze, why did you need to ask?
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]


Trust Buster

(7,299 posts)
12. What blatant hypocrisy. Sanders supporters have done nothing but attack Hillary for preventing
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:35 PM
May 2016

the same in Libya. Pathetic.



(5,636 posts)
14. I thought Sanders supporters want to ignore the Syrian and ISIS genocides?
Wed May 11, 2016, 06:53 PM
May 2016

Or do you, like Hillary, favor taking action?

So many Sanders supporters are such hypocrites. No wonder he doesn't have much support from the real liberal base, people of color.

Response to Baobab (Original post)

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