I understand -- and absolutely believe -- that many people who support the intervention in Libya are doing so for good and noble reasons: disgust at standing by and watching Gadaffi murder hundreds or thousands of rebels. I also believe that some people who supported the attack on Iraq did so out of disgust for Saddam Hussein and a desire to see him removed from power. It's commendable to oppose that type of despotism, and I understand -- and share -- the impulse.
But what I cannot understand at all is how people are willing to believe that the U.S. Government is deploying its military and fighting this war because, out of abundant humanitarianism, it simply cannot abide internal repression, tyranny and violence against one's own citizens. This is the same government that enthusiastically supports and props up regimes around the world that do exactly that, and that have done exactly that for decades.
And there are people who've been suffering for decades who could use our "help" that will never be forthcoming.
As I've said more than once over the years, I don't have a problem with using the US military for humanitarian purposes. If we were to honestly say, "we will not allow tyrants to exist on this Earth"; if we would decide to be "the worldwide protector of human rights", I'd back that. My concern is the innocents who get trampled by these despots; the fewer, the better. Were we to have a non-cynical policy, as opposed to the hypocritical approach we have today, I wouldn't mind US power being used to make the world a better place (and I'm not just talking about shooting wars, but humanitarian relief - a good job for the
That said, a lot would have to change in this country, especially how we see ourselves in relation to the rest of the world and our obligations to it. Right now, until we get our house in order, any imposition of our will on another nation will be taken with nothing more than cynicism. The United States of 2011 has no standing as the moral arbiter of anything.