The crisis precipitated by Idi Amin's genocide has mounted to the point where a mutiny in the Uganda capital has been reported (it failed) and where dictator Idi Amin claims that a force in neighboring Tanzania stands poised to invade (Tanzania denies it). We would not normally endorse either internal revolt or external attack against an established government, but with Gen. Amin conventional restraints deserve to be taken off. He holds power by force and he is using it to murder tens if not thousands of his hapless subjects, mostly Christians; Gen. Amin is a Moslem. The international system provides no easy way to bring down a tyrant whose crimes are 1) incontestably heinous and 2) committed chiefly against his won innocent and defenseless citizens. We would not put too fine a point on it: Gen. Amin has probably made violence the only option. He cannot be brought down too soon.
It is worth asking whether Gen. Amin has acted out of religious bigotry or pathological viciousness. The former is suggested by his years-long assaylt on Uganda's Christians, and by the support offered him, including "all" of Libya's armed forces by that countrys President Qaddafi, a Moslem nations should take account of how deeply Gen. Amin is undermining the Moslem claim, so recently battered by events in Lebanon, of tolerance for non-Moslem minorities. If Gen. Amin is prepared to ignore or exploit protests from Western nations, then he may be more open to the influence brought to bear by his co-religionists.
The streak of pathological viciousness in Gen. Amin puts a special burden. Specifically, he is a gift to white racism. He makes Ian Smith look like Thomas Jefferson. He has killed perhaps hundreds of times more black Africans than have lost their lives in Rhodesia's continuing war. As long as the nations of Africa, individually or in the Organization of African Unity, stand by mumbling "non-interference in internal affairs" while Idi Amin butchers his unprovoking and unprotected citizens, then the struggle against white minority rule is debased.
President Carter expressed on Wednesday the "disgust" of "the entire civilized world." The British are pushing for an investigation through the machinery of the United Nations. Such gestures are all very well but meanwhile Gen. Amin is murdering human beings, as he has been doing for years. It is necessary to condemn him and withdraw international support from him. It is necessary to assure the Ugandans who would themselves end his tyranny - and only Ugandans can here play the leading role - that they have international understanding. It is necessary to make plain that international aid to help repair Gen. Amin's ravages will be available, once he is gone.