It's terribly sad, even ten years later, to think that no one did anything to stop the Rwandan genocide. This is a situation that I find almost impossible to fathom, that the world could know what was going on there and just ignore it, just let so many innocent people die.
I'm a big fan of the Clinton years, but I think one of its biggest mistakes was not sending in troops to try to stop this. I believe that it is the responsibility of this country to get involved when we know that such a great number of people are being systemically eliminated, as we did when the Serbs killed so many ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. I believe, as many do, that if the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" crisis had not occurred in Somalia that the US would have gotten involved in Rwanda. Clinton took a lot of heat when marines died in Mogadishu and did not want to send them to an area of risk again.
And as I said, that was one of his biggest mistakes. Many other countries are responsible for doing nothing as well, but it's a shame that the US did not initiate an action to save so many innocent lives.
People may think I contradict myself, or worse, play partisanship, when I say that taking action in Rwanda would have been justified, as Kosovo was, but that I believe we made a huge mistake in Iraq. To that I say this, look at how quickly the killing stopped in Kosovo, and imagine how effective our forces would have been in Rwanda. Then ask if the situation in Iraq is better now than it was when we invaded. I say absolutely not, there is more death in Iraq than there was before, despite what is reported about the killing practices of the regime in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people were in immediate danger in both Kosovo and Rwanda. There was no such situation in Iraq. The US has a duty to involve itself when it will prevent the senseless slaughter of masses. I have never felt that Iraq presented that scenario.
The process of which we select where to get involved is indeed intriguing. I wish it were based solely on humanity.