The Atrocities Prevention Board will achieve nothing

President Obama announced today the formation of the “Atrocities Prevention Board”, which will be tasked with helping to prevent such horrible acts like genocide. The White House press release on this new initiative is basically a long list of talking points which will have no real impact on human rights, or genocide prevention. Many of these talking points are so obvious to the prevention of genocide, that it begs the question, why did the President feel the need to create this board? While others have simply never worked.

The section of the press release devoted to diplomatic efforts lays out this ground breaking new way of preventing atrocities:

“Diplomatic Initiative: The United States will engage with countries and other stakeholders around the world to expand and deepen international commitment and capacity to prevent and respond to atrocities.”

Mr. President, with all due respect this has pretty much been standard practice for diplomats when trying to prevent atrocities.

The section following this in the press release is devoted to the failed practice of sanctions. Sanctions are a colossal failure. Sanctions have not toppled the regimes in Iran or Syria; nor will they ever. Similarly, they were not successful in getting rid Saddam Hussein, and have had no impact on the Castro brothers grip on power in Cuba. Sanctions are quite successful at making those at the very bottom suffer.

The Presidents new Atrocities Prevention Board will also be tasked with “denying impunity” both in the U.S. and abroad for those accused of genocide and other mass crimes. Certainly one of the more laughable demands of the president’s new panel in light of the immunity deal they helped hammer out for former President Saleh.

The list goes on and on. Dominating much of this new initiative is the notion that the president wants the ability to be made more aware of when atrocities are happening. This insinuates that somehow world leaders are kept in the dark when war crimes are being committed. Somehow the intelligence community will now be better tasked with reporting information when these events are taking place.

The intelligence community will work internally and with our foreign partners to increase the overall collection, analysis, and sharing of information relating to atrocity threats and situations.

Here is yet another fallacy espoused by the president. World leaders, and the president of the United States in particular, know full well when war crimes and other atrocities are taking place. A reconfiguration of intelligence gathering will not lead to less atrocities taking place, because there is no intelligence gap when in comes to intel on atrocities.

Today’s announcement of the formation of the Atrocities Prevention Board will do nothing to stop genocide and war crimes from being committed. Instead it will create more bureaucracy, leading to nowhere, and hampering real methods to stop these despicable acts. The announcement is a nauseating display of political theater. Unable to do anything to stop the bloodshed in Syria, the president wants to give the impression that there will never again be another Syria. Instead of truly empowering the UN and other existing institutions tasked with preventing war crimes, the President decides to create another government entity to tell him what he already knows. Exploiting the civil war in Syria to make himself seem like a caring and just leader is not the way to fight war crimes.

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