David Axe is a military correspondent living in Washington, D.C. Since 2005 he has reported from Iraq, Lebanon, East Timor, Afghanistan and Somalia. He is a regular contributor to The Washington Times, C-SPAN and BBC Radio, among many others. He blogs alongside tech writer Noah Shachtman at Danger Room. He can be reached at david_axe-at-hotmail.com.
Foreign aid and a U.N.-backed peacekeeping mission may be prolonging the conflict in Darfur by providing a safe-haven where rebels can safely leave their families and recruit new soldiers -- some of them children.
Where was Hawa Mamhat Dijme's husband? I asked her one hot day in late June at her earthen hut in the Iridimi refugee camp in eastern Chad. Iridimi, with some 18,000 refugees, is one of a dozen large U.N.-administered camps that have housed around 250,000 Darfuri refugees since 2004.
On the day of my visit, Dijme's clan was all in attendance: her three children and her grown niece and sister and their own children -- around a dozen in all. But no men.
So where was her husband -- or for that matter any of the women's husbands? It might seem an impertinent question for a Western journalist visiting remote, conservative Central Africa, but it's also an important question for American taxpayers.