It is getting increasingly more difficult for me to read conservative blogs. Take, for example, this disingenous post by Glenn Reynolds on the situation in Darfur:

Strange that Kofi Annan is unwilling to call this genocide.

I am not sure where Reynolds got the idea that Annan was the impetus behind a refusal to call the Darfur crisis "genocide". Neither Jim Moore, the author of the linked entry in the quote, or the BBC News article that Moore mentions make any reference to Annan suggesting that Darfur is not a problem; indeed, exactly the opposite is happening.

Genocide is defined thus:
The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.

Personally, I am not sure that what is happening in Darfur counts as genocide. Colin Powell agrees:
MS. NORRIS: I don't want to belabor this, but in diplomacy words do count, and as your -- as State Department counsel looks at this issue and determines whether this -- whether this should be labeled a genocide, does that carry a different weight and responsibility for the State Department and the U.S. if they make that determination?

SECRETARY POWELL: The State Department has to weigh all of these matters carefully and what we try to do is to use labels with precision. There are some who, based on what they have heard about the situation in Darfur and their concern about the needs of these people, want to immediately call it a genocide, whether it fits the definition of a genocide or not. I'm more interested in taking care of the people.

Now, if it was a genocide and it met all the tests and we declared it that, we would certainly increase international pressure. But whether we would be doing more than we are now doing is a question that I can't answer. It doesn't open any real new authorities to me or give me any additional powers or responsibilities that I'm not now executing.

Would the press (and the American people) pay more attention if the State Department described it as genocide? I do not think so. In a way, it should not matter. Regardless of whether it is a situation of genocide or more simplistic (yet equally malicious) ethnic cleansing, action should be taken even if the public is not paying attention. Past history (in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the Holocaust, for example) shows that by the time public opinion forces the government to act, it is too late.

So what is the solution? Jim Moore has some interesting thoughts:

A problem, as I see it, is that the world does not have a single body charged with monitoring for genocides and "certifying" those that emerge. We have a treaty that requres intervention in the case of genocide, but no way to trigger the application of the treaty. As a result, we requre the "quorum of global leaders" that Seigle properly asserts is necessary for action in Sudan. My observation is that we did not get such a quorum in either Nazi Germany or in Rwanda, and we have so far failed to get a quorum on Sudan. I pray we see a strong quorum in the next few days.

Such a quorum would not be necessary if the United Nations was strong enough to act in order to stop human rights violations; a more hawkish UN with both the strength and the ability to cause change would be a powerful force for democratic change around the world.