Pacifism Fails in the Face of Sovereign Evil

If the U.N. won't act on its own mandate, then we should use force to combat immutable evil

However, I am forced to conclude, after many decades spent reporting on and witnessing the evidence, that there is such a thing as immutable evil in this world—as personified by, among others, Robert Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir. By advocating the use of force to save their victims, I feel I have betrayed A.J., and probably that part of myself that made me a pacifist. But with General al-Bashir breaking the 2005 peace treaty that put a stop to his 20-year war against black Christians and animists in the south of Sudan—in which over two million people have already died—only force will prevent the opening of (to quote one Western observer there) "the gates of hell."

CORRECTION: In a recent column ("Keeping Jazz Makers Alive," May 14), I repeated a story I'd heard for years from jazz musicians, that piano phenom Phineas Newborn was buried in a pauper's grave. His grandson, Phineas Newborn III, called up to say that he's also often heard that rumor, but that it isn't true. Newborn, in fact, was buried with honors at a veterans' cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1989.

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