The Economist has a very good report on the Congo (via Gary Farber, who would like as many bloggers as possible to raise awareness of the situation). 2.5 million have died in the Congo over the last four years; the death toll makes Saddam look like a piker. If humanitarian motivations suffice to justify the war on Iraq, then the Congo ought to be next in line. If they don’t — we still ought to do something about this.
Kofi Annan has asked for help. There are reports of cannibalism. It’s ugly.
Genuine question, absent rhetoric: why does assuming the power to intervene automatically impose the obligation to intervene?
I don’t think it does. However, I think intervention in clear cases like this is enlightened self-interest. Same reason it’s in our best interests to cooperate with functional international health organizations, say.