April 26, 2006

Iraq and Darfur

Interesting debate on Darfur and Iraq and Liberal Hawks. First up Lawrence Kaplan, TNR resident Super-Hawk, arguing that only US military intervention can stop the Genocide in Darfur, and that liberal-not-hawks who call for withdrawal from Iraq and intervention in Darfur are hypocrites and whatnot. Enter Mark Leon Goldberg with a response, basically that there are several options to help in Darfur short of the all-out invasion that Kaplan is so fond of, and that Liberal-Hawks shouldn't try and regain the reputation that they lost in Iraq in Darfur.

I myself am pretty sympathetic to liberal hawk ideas, if not Lawrence Kaplan's rather harsh version. My formative years thinking about foreign policy were the 1990's when the debates were about stopping genocide in places like Rwanda and the Balkans. I am very sympathetic to The New Republic's project to reconcile liberals and the use of military force. The point that Michael Moore always looses me in his movies and books is when he veers into a kind of shrieking pacifism where no US military power is ever good and all we can do with the next humanitarian disaster is watch.

That said, Liberal-Hawkery took a real hit by backing the Iraq invasion. There was a case to made for humanitarian intervention in Iraq. But that wasn't Bush's case. His case was for a preventive war to stop a weapon's program that didn't exist. After the fact Bush has claimed it was all for Democracy and puppies, but that wasn't the case going in. On top of that, the Bush administration has made a complete hash of Iraq, whatever the justification for war.

Liberal Hawks are going to need to distance themselves from the Iraq disaster or else they will never convince the left (or the Country) of the need to act in places like Darfur. The fact that Iraq is making it so much harder to help Darfur is just one more sin to lay at the feet of the Bush Administration.


Larry said...

I haven't read the links, but I'm pretty certain that I can classify myself as a liberal-not-hawk.

My thoughts go back to the old saying that we cannot and should not try to be the policeman of the world. If we as a species have not yet learned to avoid what we now call genocide, it's not clear that a small group of us can teach that lesson, especially by force. Once Darfur is taken care of, genocide will certainly break out elsewhere.

Besides, we have our own act here to clean up before we go cleaning up other people's messes. First things first.

Laura said...

I'm pretty opposed to the use of armed force anywhere. And certainly, I think the U.S. has really done it's share of throwing its weight around the world.

However, there comes a time when not intervening becomes the greater evil. It's the only thing I hold against Clinton, his refusal to get involved in Rwanda and stop the genocide. As an international force we are presented with an opportunity to end a pretty serious evil. And yes, getting involved will in all likelihood have to be in the form of armed force, which may be wrong. But it is more wrong to stand back and do nothing while the women and girls of Darfur endure rape as a weapon of war and innocent people are being slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands. Enough is enough.

As a post script, I find it more than a bit depressing that I've seen more discourse on Darfur coming from the television show ER than I have from any U.S. media source.

Laura said...

Another post script...The UN is cutting back the amount of food aid it is sending to Darfur due to lack of contributions. As if these people weren't already starving enough. What will it take for people to become horrified enough to put pressure on their governments to intervene?