“It’s easy to say military action ‘only in defense of the nation,’ or ‘our interests’ — but that would require of us a selfishness that we have never been able to live up to. The world is a terrible place: How many genocides are we willing to avert our eyes from? How many preventable slaughters will we allow? How many democracies would we allow to see toppled? (Taiwan by China? Israel by Iran?) If they start putting Jews in camps again, or feeding Christians to the lions, could you live with yourself having stood by and done nothing, because ‘that’s not what our military’s for?’ There are good reasons to be that selfish, but I don’t think America has it in us. I think that we want to improve the world. I don’t think we want to stand by and allow evil to happen.”
To his credit, the writer is asking for clear guidelines about when we go on a “humanitarian war” (my term, not his). But this claim for American “virtue” is still false, dangerous, and unconstitutional.
Genocides have been happening all around us and we ignore them. We are ignoring horrific oppression in North Korea, where people are forced to practice cannibalism for lack of food. When the press focuses our attention on a specific spot they are manipulating “outrage.” The question is, of all the world atrocities, why is one selected for media attention?
The writer leaves the impression that we got involved in WWII because of Jews in ovens. That is simply not true. FDR was eager for get the US into war long before that happened, and for other reasons.
How can anyone seriously bring up throwing Christians to lions when we are now actively supporting and arming men far worse than lions who are raping, vivisecting, and slaughtering Christians in Syria?
If you want to have a “conversation” about the use of military force, be my guest. But it isn’t a conversation when you
- don’t ask if the results of our actions will be a worse humanitarian disaster than the alleged atrocity we are supposed to stop
- pretend that all the State Department fables about white hats and black hats are true.
Yes, we “want to improve the world” when our politicians and media manipulate us. And then what happens?
Our troops bleed and die to turn a secular dictatorship in Iraq into a Shiite dictatorship using secret prisons, secret police, torture, and rape—a place where Christians flee from and where Al Qaeda is able to use as a base for the first time. Or we bomb Libya and turn a secular dictatorship into an Al Qaeda warzone.
The world would be better off if we were more “selfish.” Every time our leaders rev us up to not “stand by and let evil happen,” they are equally eager to ignore and cover the evil created by their bombs and bullets—not least the evil suffered by our own troops.