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October 02, 2006

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Kimball Corson

Larry,
While your Hitler example is correct, it is truly hard to imagine that if we had not invaded Iraq a second time after 9/11, deaths would have been higher. 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since we commenced the second invasion, not counting American and coalition troops. That is a hard number to match under other likely scenarios.

Kimball Corson

Seth,

A factor that I believe also makes humanitarian "interventions" a hard sell to the American people is the notion that Americans are better than everyone else (remember the 3/5ths clause of the U.S. Constitution). Therefore, intervening to save an isolated and threatened group of Americans, for example, is wholly different than intervening to save thousands of Africans from genocide. We deem ourselves to count for more than others.

RNB


Food for thought: http://hrw.org/wr2k4/3.htm

I'm restricting my comments to the miconception that Iraq is/was/could have been in 2003 a humanitarian intervention. As others have stated, it is hard to imagine anyone considering the invasion of Iraq a humanitarian intervention for a number of reasons.

First, the humanitarian justification was post-facto most notably once the WMD justification evaporated in the Iraqi desert. If that was a real justification it would have made sense politically (at least with our democratic international allies) to say so from the start. Taking into account the potential detrimental effect to a Republican base that such justification might have had domestically (remember Condi saying that US troops would notbe used in this Administration to walk kindergardeners to school?) the US could have used this justification behind closed doors with our intl allies. However, none have stepped up to the plate to say so and the USG has produced no evidence showing that it did.

Also, some relevant excerpts from a Human Rights Watch piece which I recommend and on which I welcome comments(http://hrw.org/wr2k4/3.htm): In a humanitarian intervention, every effort should be made to ensure that the means used to intervene themselves respect international human rights and humanitarian law. The carpet bombing and torture committed by US troops are two examples of the violations of IHL and Intl HR law perpetrated by the US. Also, one can find even Fox news reports stating that torture was official policy. There was more of a conserted effort to violate intl law than to respect it. Secondly, it must be reasonably likely that military action will do more good than harm. Before the invasion even US Generals were skeptical about the ability of their own troops to remove Saddam and stabilize the country militarily with the troop numbers provided by Rumsfeld. Saddam was certainly no saint; he was an awful dictator. However, as Professor Posner rightly points out, "The humanitarian effect of the war has been at best ambiguous against the baseline of the containment period that preceded it, and if current trends continue, the overall effect will be that of a humanitarian disaster." Hmmm, sounds like the situation on ground wasnt that bad after all to justify intervening militarily on humanitarian grounds. Please do not misconstrue my point. The USG and the Inl community should have and could have continued to intervene in many ways short of war. Opposing military intervention DOES NOT mean doing nothing. This links nicely with my last point. To be a humanitarian intervention, war ought to be the last viable option. Cross-reference Samantha Power's continuum of intervention with the pre-war alternatives made use of by our Administration and you'll see that the USG skipped a few.

Kimball Corson

RNB, good comment.

Kimball Corson

Or, as one could say, we had to get all those Iraqis killed to save Iraq . . . which we still haven't done, as the killing is not over. Ineed, it is accelerating. If this is a humanitarian effort, pray that we don't engage in a dispotic one.

Bob

Shorter Eric Posner:

Since the Bush administration and its supporters claimed that the Iraq War was a humanitarian intervention in order to sell the war to the American public (was it an oxymoron then, or is it only an oxymoron now?), and since the Iraq War has been unsuccessful, no more humanitarian interventions anywhere, under any circumstances (no Darfur, no Rwanda, apparently no intervention to save 6M Jews from the Holocaust if it were to happen today, and no differences that anyone can draw between intervening in any of these situations and intervening in Iraq)! Quite a breathtaking claim when you take a step back.

I guess these are all pointless. http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/bnote.htm

(Also, Kosovo = Clinton's Iraq)

Kimball Corson

Will be out of pocket for 10 days, as I crew on this http://sailblogs.com/member/thewanderer I an not disinterested or without opinions; I am just gone.

Kimball Corson

I won't be able o spell when I get back either.

David

Kimball--

I've traveled extensively on all continents but Australia. So I know what life is like in the world. I'll grant that most countries have something that makes them interesting, and that some countries have some features that are better than the related features in the U.S. But I have yet to visit a country that has a better package of benefits for its residents and citizens than the U.S. I'm not trading my U.S. passport for another any time soon.

LAK

Come on David. You get 8 weeks off of work in France, plus the ridiculous cheese. And those Scandanavian countries definietly treat their average citizen much much better than we do. Extenisve vacations, some of which are free, if you are depressed.

I think you need to qualify that the US has the best life for those who can afford it.

Bob

Yeah, you get 8 weeks off in France and where do they go on their holiday...to southern Spain, another dump where nobody works fo a living. France is a trash heap, I've never seen so much garbage in the streets than in Paris. Maybe it's because all the trash collectors are on holiday? And service sucks, too. They have no work ethic.

Erasmussimo

C'mon, guys, this is so parochial. Yes, sure, America seems like the best place on earth -- to an American. And yep, Americans cannot understand why anybody would prefer calimari to a burger with fries. And Frenchmen cannot understand how Americans can survive without wine every day. Fijians can't understand how we can actually choose to live in such a cold climate.

This is called "culture". There's no place like home. Everybody thinks that their own homeland is intrinsically superior to everybody else's. I write this from Athens, and I don't see anybody here sighing wistfully at not being in New York City.

You want to know how to win friends and influence people in foreign countries? Tell them:

1. Their country is full of natural beauty.
2. Their food is the best in the world.
3. Their women are the most beautiful in the world.
4. Their language is so lovely to to hear, so lyrical and rhapsodic.
5. Their historical places are awe-inspiring.

It doesn't matter where you are, these five rules always work. And it helps to realize that you too are susceptible to them.

LAK

Bob,

I'd put Aix-En-Provence up against any city in the states for beauty and cleanliness.

And Paris is less filthy than manhattan, that is for sure. At least they don't pile garbage on the sidewalk.

Dameon Vanscyoc

Well when you think about war you dont exactly think of it as a humanitarian effort, but in war isnt really what your doing trying to help someone? Either way you look at it someway, somehow, in some light we are going to be looked as the bad guys because there are people who oppose are beliefs and believe that we are over stepping our boundaries and should withdraw, The same thing can be said about other topics as in school's and privacy, Illegal immigration. True, they are all in different fields but they deal with the same problem. "is it morally sound for us to shun one person and to accept another and to invade that persons privacy for a matter of security?"

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