“What would happen if we thought of Darfur as we do of Iraq, as a place with a history and politics—a messy politics of insurgency and counterinsurgency?” (§4). This is the most telling question posed by Professor Mahmood Mamdani in “The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency.” The implication is that the growing public demand for strong international action—military or otherwise—to halt the atrocities in Darfur is somehow unwarranted because people have failed to understand that the systematic crimes against humanity committed against civilians in Darfur (and indeed Iraq) are an inevitability of “the messy politics of insurgency and counterinsurgency.”

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