The end of the Tamil Tigers?

Apparently. Now the problem is convincing the Sri Lankan government and army that the Tamils are citizens, not enemies.

So it would seem. And good riddance.

The Sri Lankan ambassador in Washington credits Barack Obama for blaming the bloodshed among Tamil civilians on the Tigers. Apparently the Tigers had been counting on getting the international community to pressure the Sri Lankan government to back off in the face of the humanitarian disaster created by the army’s push against the Tigers and the Tigers’ decision to, in effect, hold the local population hostage. When that didn’t work, the Tigers folded.

Obama’s support, and the Sri Lankan government’s recognition of it, ought to give Obama some chits. And he needs to use them to get the government &#8212 now that the war is over &#8212 to stop treating its Tamil citizens as enemies. The army is in effect a Sinhalese communal enterprise rather than a truly national one, and the Tamils have lots of real grievances. Some of the well-documented atrocity stories coming out of Sri Lanka have been pretty stomach-churning.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: