Thursday, June 02, 2005

Americans Support Darfur Intervention

Via Laura Rosen at War and Piece, I want to mention this important new poll from Zogby and the International Crisis Group. Full poll results are available here, but I've highlighted some of the findings:

- 18% of 1,000 respondents described themselves as "very aware" of the situation in Darfur, while 46% said they are "slightly aware." 22% said they are "not very aware," while 14% called themselves "not at all aware" of the events in Darfur. The ICG's report notes that those least likely to be aware of what's going on in Darfur are those with less than a high school diploma (48%), income below $15,000 (41%), Americans in the 18-29 age group, African-Americans, and Southerners.

- 70% of respondents said that the international community "should respond" to the situation in Darfur as described in a lengthy question. Seventeen percent said the matter should be left up to the Sudanese government, and 13% said they weren't sure. Interestingly, more political independents (21%) said the matter was internal, as compared to Democrats (16%) or Republicans (15%).

- 80% said they would describe events in Sudan as either "genocide" or "crimes against humanity." Ten percent said they would not, and the same percentage weren't sure. As the report notes, 82% of Republicans agreed with those characterizations, as did 79% of Democrats.

- 79% said "the international community has a responsibility - short of sending US troops - to take action to stop these attacks from taking place in Darfur." Fifteen percent disagreed.

- Regarding penalties, 91% said the the US should "cooperate with the International Criminal Court to help bring to justice those accused of crimes against humanity." 81% said we should "impose tough sanctions on those Sudanese leaders responsible for controlling the militias." 80% said a no-fly zone should be established over Darfur, and 76% supported offering "NATO logistical and troop support for an expanded African peacekeeping force."

- Only when the specific question of American "boots on the ground" was raised did a majority of respondents not support action. Asked if the US should "insert" troops to Darfur, 38% said they supported such an action; 55% opposed it.

- 76% said the US should "confront China and Russia in the UN Security Council when those two countries try to block meaningful action on Darfur." Thirteen percent said we shouldn't, and 11% weren't sure.

*In some cases the wording of the questions is a bit suspect, but generally I think the poll's probably a fairly accurate one.

President Bush mentioned Darfur yesterday, for the first time in 142 days, reports the Coalition for Darfur. "This is a serious situation. As you know, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, with my concurrence, declared the situation a genocide. Our government has put a lot of money to help deal with the human suffering there," Bush said in an appearance with South African president Thabo Mbeki, adding later that an American transport plane is going to be part of NATO logistical support of the African Union mission in Darfur. It's not enough, but it's better than nothing.

Elizabeth Becker and David Sanger in the New York Times add to Bush's statement, noting "Mr. Bush has said almost nothing about Darfur this year, and several human rights groups have criticized him for paying too little attention to the issue. But on Wednesday he noted that the deputy secretary of state, Robert B. Zoellick, was on his way to the region for his second trip."

Laura Rosen has more links to good Darfur coverage.


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