Columnist Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times has offered penetrating analysis of the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. Most recently, he has reported on the spread of the crisis to neighboring Chad. This is a human rights crisis of tremendous horror — genocide before the world’s eyes — but one that could be addressed with the effective use of limited military force.

In Sunday’s column, Kristof offers a summary plan for such action:

One measure we could take would be to enforce a no-fly zone from the air base in Abéché, Chad. The president of Chad says he would be happy to have Americans do this, and it would be easy: instead of keeping airplanes in the air, we would simply wait until a Sudanese plane bombed a village, then strafe that plane on the ground afterward. (The first time, we would just damage the plane; we would destroy any after that.)


Darfur is not hopeless. We need a new peace initiative, focused on the sheiks of the region. We need a well-equipped U.N. peacekeeping force and a no-fly zone. We need a public pledge by France to use its military forces in Chad to stop any invasion from Sudan. And we need Arab leaders to speak up for the Muslim victims of Darfur: where are you, Hosni Mubarak? With those measures, Darfur might again be a place where children play, rather than one in which they are thrown into bonfires.

One interesting dimension of Kristof’s proposal is his recommendation for military force. He has seen an evil that will not yield to persuasion. His proposal deserves serious consideration.