Bystanders to Genocide: Why the United States Let the Rwandan Tragedy Happen
In 1994 during a matter of 100 days the fastest most efficient killing spree of the twentieth century occurred in Rwanda Africa. An article written by Samantha Power in The Atlantic Monthly says “The Hutu government and extremist allies very nearly succeeded in exterminating the country’s Tutsi minority. Using firearms, machetes, and a variety of garden implements the Hutu militiamen and soldiers murdered some 800,000 Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu” The article also discusses the lack of intervention by the United States.
In 1998 President Bill Clinton visited Rwanda to give the “Clinton Apology”. The apology turned into more or less recognition of the genocide. Directly from his speech he said “We came here today in recognition of the fact that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred.” There were multiple reasons why the United States and the world did not get involved. One aspect was it was unclear as to if it was a true genocide or if they were meddling into a civil war.
United Nations had very little knowledge of the country Rwanda in general. It was not on the “top priority” list of issues that the UN was dealing with at the time. Belgian Foreign Minister Willie Claes recalls trying to discuss Rwanda with his American counterpart and being told “ I have other responsibilities.” United States were slow in recognizing it as a genocide due to the concern of taking the lead of responsibility and having it turn into another possible Vietnam controversy. Others thought they had done all they could and should do. Assistant Secretary of State George Moose was quoted saying “We were psychologically and imaginatively too limited.”
There is proof that the United States and the UN had multiple opportunities to give aid but had not deemed it necessary. One of the many questions being...