Humanitarianism of convenience?

Good post from Digby on the humanitarian rationale for our latest war:

We intervene in places in which we have large financial and strategic interests, period. It’s merely a convenience to attach a humanitarian label to it and persuade everyone that we are doing God’s work instead. Even the arguments for Iraq were all wrapped up in “rape rooms” and “he gassed his own people” rhetoric. The entire debacle eventually rested on the trope “the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein.”

I used to think in these terms — using our military power for good and all that rot. But as I’ve grown older I’ve come to the conclusion that wars are almost always the wrong choice. If Hitler is sweeping across Europe, committing genocide and declaring his intention to take over the world, I’m reluctantly in. But short of that I’m always going to be extremely skeptical of motives and interest about any of these military adventures. It’s rare that this extreme form of violence is used for the reasons stated and far more often than not it creates more mayhem and instability than it stops. The law of unintended consequences is never more consequential.

I’m a bit surprised how many liberals have jumped to support this war. Not to say there’s no case to be made for it, but there was virtually no debate, no articulation of an end-state, much less an exit strategy, and little or no discussion of how our bombing campaign is going to avoid killing the civilians we’re ostensibly trying to protect. In fact, many of the arguments were eerily similar to arguments used to justify the Iraq war.

In short: the burden of proof in these cases should properly rest on those advocating war. I have a hard time seeing that war proponents have met that standard in this case.

2 thoughts on “Humanitarianism of convenience?

  1. Still, does she really think Hitler not only meant to conquer the whole world, but said so?

    And does this mean that if she realized he neither intended that nor said he did she would retrospectively oppose the only war liberals are unanimous in calling “The Good War”?

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