Out of Iraq, Into Darfur

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Yesterday, Tim Cavanaugh asked why "it always seem[s] like progressives support any intervention that clearly does not advance any American interests?" Working Assets don't have an answer, per se … but they have some more evidence.

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  1. Perhaps it is because they don’t support America’s interests?

    Perhaps it is because they don’t support America?

    Yes, I’m questioning their patriotism.

  2. Supporting wars that have no chance of happening means never having to say you were wrong!

  3. So the prevention of genocide isn’t in the interest of all living on Earth?

  4. Certainly it is. That’s why we deposed a genocidal dictator with a history of invading his neighbors, using chemical weapons and supporting terrorists.

  5. Wasn’t it only a few years ago that the same protestors were denouncing the US when Clinton bombed that (supposedly) al Qaeda linked pharmaceutical plant?

  6. Still pretending the Iraq War is advancing our national interest, Dave?

  7. Deus Ex – Did they protest? ISTR a remarkable lack of protest over the US’ bombing of a civilian pharmaceutical plant when it was done at Clinton’s order. Of course, you can’t say this around leftists, or they start chanting “Clinton’s penis! Clinton’s penis! Everything is about Clinton’s penis to you!” which is basically their way of intentionally Godwinning any argument and shutting down any meaningful discussion about whether the American left did and does hold a double standard. Of course, there probably were some who protested; even though I may not have much in common with them, I do appreciate their evenhandedness.

    As for the whole Iraq/Darfur thing, I think they just think that any kind of self-interest is ipso facto evil, so the only way of being not-evil is to get involved in places where you have absolutely no interest.

  8. “Certainly it is. That’s why we deposed a genocidal dictator with a history of invading his neighbors, using chemical weapons and supporting terrorists.”

    Approximately twenty years after the fact.
    Also, I seem to recall a grand presentation about WMD’s & imminent threatitude & not much else at the start of the Iraq affair. Now it was out it was all about preventing genocide ?

  9. I think they just think that any kind of self-interest is ipso facto evil

    And if America’s interests are ipso facto evil, what does that say about their opinion of America itself?

  10. SM,

    Saddam’s brutality and genocide were among the reasons we went to war in Iraq. I guess if that had been the only reason the progressives wouldn’t have protested?

  11. “We” need to more clearly define who the paleface “we” is that should intervene.
    Tonto in favor of intervening, but paleface governments not able to find posterior with two hands.

  12. “Saddam’s brutality and genocide were among the reasons we went to war in Iraq.”

    Yes, we very cleverly did not thing, and even worked to support him, during the peak of his brutality and genocide, waiting to depose him only when he was very tightly constrained, his brutality was at a fairly low ebb, and genocide was not only absent, but actually impossible for him to carry out. And, to make sure our statement was as clear as possible, we spent months building up a case around unrelated issues.

    Yup, brutality and genocide. That was it.

  13. I think they just think that any kind of self-interest is ipso facto evil, so the only way of being not-evil is to get involved in places where you have absolutely no interest.

    I tried to say something along these lines on the other thread. It’s like their thinking is like this:

    1) Jumping into the lake to save the drowning child of a stranger is selfless, therefore noble, and you should do it.

    2) On the other hand, jumping into the lake to save the drowning billionaire who is known for giving out generous rewards is tainted with self-interest, therefore not at all noble. In fact, it pretty much makes it wrong to do it.

    And if America’s interests are ipso facto evil, what does that say about their opinion of America itself?

    I’m not a big defender of the placard-waving Left, but I don’t think this necessarily says anything about their opinion of America itself. They don’t necessarily see America’s interests as ipso facto evil, but any self-interest.

  14. If they see America acting in its self interest as evil, wouldn’t if follow that they see America as evil as well?

    I know consistency of thought and logic do not necessarily apply when discussing the actions of progressives but I can’t get my head around, “country A is taking evil actions in it’s own self interest, but country A is not evil.”

    That’s kind of like saying Al Quada did an evil thin on 9/11 (and 3/11 and a lot of other dates) but they’re really an OK bunch of guys who did a few bad things.

  15. Had the US government gone the other way:
    out of Darfur, into Iraq,
    then we’d be on a roll, rather than being up Shit Creek.

    Governments may always be relied upon to do precisely the wrong thing.

  16. Progressives are taking the easy role of outsiders. They won’t participate in anything that isn’t perfect.

    Stanley Cavell _Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome : The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism_

    “… this perception of the communal as spoiled by the moralistic is a perfectionist moment … The cynical rebuke of hypocrisy, in a scene of democratic corruption, forms a counterpart – about as remote as the dimensions of Western theater permit, yet continuous – with Socrates’ speculation, in the city of words passage, that the good city exists always as a model to the good soul, and his claim that the philosopher will participate in the public affairs of only that city, toward which his interlocuter seems to express some reservation.

    Of course, the claim to be willing to participate in a city if, but only if, it is good, is a convenient story for a bunch of born outsiders, say like these reporters, to tell themselves. It has its convenience for intellectuals generally. The point of the moment for me, Socratic and Hawksian [Howard Hawks, His Girl Friday], is its glimpse of perfectionist aspiration as calling on, or remembering, the wish for participation in the city, as if its moral task is to show the ground on which to withstand its invitation to cynicism.

    Perfectionism is the dimension of moral thought directed less to restraining the bad than to releasing the good, as from a despair of good … If there is a perfectionism not only compatible with democracy but necessary to it, it lies not in excusing democracy for its inevitable failures, or looking to rise above them, but in teaching how to respond to those failures, and to one’s compromise by them, otherwise than by excuse or withdrawal…” p.17-1

  17. Stephen and Stevo,
    “Evil” is never the apt word, unless you are a “believer.”

  18. Ruthless,

    I am not a believer in any supernatural mystical deity or devil.

    I am believer in morality and the concepts of right and wrong.

    For a person or group that actively pursues the immoral and the wrong, I believe “evil” to be an apt descriptor.

  19. I know consistency of thought and logic do not necessarily apply when discussing the actions of progressives but I can’t get my head around, “country A is taking evil actions in it’s own self interest, but country A is not evil.”

    I think what Stevo was saying was that such people would view anyone’s acting in their own self-interest as evil. That doesn’t necessarily imply that they consider everyone evil. I consider that stance naive, since as I see it, everyone acts in their own perceived self-interest, but naivete != hypocrisy.

    Also, you’re equivocating the term “country A” in your example; the administration’s evil decisions need not impugn the morality of the nation as a whole.

  20. The trouble with “evil” is, add a “d” to it, and what have you got?
    We’re trying to slog FORWARD here.

  21. Deus Ex – Did they protest? ISTR a remarkable lack of protest over the US’ bombing of a civilian pharmaceutical plant when it was done at Clinton’s order.

    To be fair, there were a number of Republicans who claimed the attack was a diversion to take the focus of those spots on Lewinsky’s dress. But there were also protests from the Chomskyite hard left, the same types waving the placard, who claimed that the destruction of the factory (which admittedly was targeted based on shaky evidence) led to the deaths of tens of thousands. Some went so far as to claim that the attack was an attempt to gain control of Sudan’s oil supply. This conveniently ignored the fact that, at that moment, the Sudanese government was killing and enslaving thousands of Black Africans in the south.

  22. Progressives are taking the easy role of outsiders. They won’t participate in anything that isn’t perfect.

    I’m not progressive. I’m not even sure what “progressive” means, and I’m still sure I’m not progressive.

    …but are you suggesting that “isn’t perfect” is adequately descriptive of what’s happening in Iraq?

  23. I think y’all are conflating the people who protest Iraq and demand involvment in Darfur with the people who protest Iraq and are quite happy to not be in Darfur. Each acts for different reasons:

    The first wants to prevent genocide as it happens. They also favored going into Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

    The second wants the US not to throw around its weight. They were probably opposed to Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

    Neither believes that “America is Evil!” Well, some of them do, but fewer than it comforts you to accuse.

  24. “Evil” is never the apt word, unless you are a “believer.”

    Why? As an atheist I have no problem calling something evil. It is clearly a moral condemnation, not a religious one.

    The trouble with “evil” is, add a “d” to it, and what have you got?

    Huh?

  25. “Perhaps it is because they don’t support America’s interests?

    Perhaps it is because they don’t support America?

    Yes, I’m questioning their patriotism.”

    As defined by what you consider to be “America’s interest”. Perhaps it’s because their opinions of what constitutes “America’s interests” are different than yours. From your posts, I assume you think going into Iraq was in America’s interest–am I correct? I don’t. So, to me, going into Darfur and going into Iraq are both
    similarly lacking in working towards America’s interest. And call me crazy, but I don’t consider myself any less patriotic than you for thinking this.

  26. One again, I’m not a progressive.

    …but from where I’m standing, not wanting to go in unless it’s “perfect” seems much better than not wanting to leave unless it’s perfect.

  27. Stephen Macklin,

    The key is, progressives don’t oppose America acting in its self-interest per se. Look at their argument for universal health care – yes, they make an altruistic argument, but they also argue quite vehemently that it would be in America’s self interest to have a health care system that provided the “bang for the buck” of France’s. (No, I’m not really interested in a discussion of the virtues and vices of France’s health care system.)

    Progressives oppose America acting in its self-interest to the detriment of someone else. They consider an oil war in a Gulf state to the equivalent of a mugging.

    Also, it might be worth reminding Mr. Weigel and others that progressives never really believed the assertions by the Bushies of the pure, charitable, beneficient holiness of the Iraq War. All the rhetoric about democracy and human rights that was thrown around was greeted in progressive corners with a great deal of skepicism. Astoundingly, progressives actually managed to grasp prior to the start of the war that the political outcome was going to be closer to a sectarian spasm war than to, say, Primary Day in Minnestota. So it is neither fair nor accurate to speculate on the motives of progressives by assuming the humanitarian wonderfulness of the Iraq War.

  28. The trouble with “evil” is, add a “d” to it, and what have you got?

    evdil?

    edvil?

    evidl?

    Absolute total nonsense.

  29. devil

  30. “I guess if that had been the only reason the progressives wouldn’t have protested?”

    They probably would have protested – i have no idea and don’t particulrly care how the “progressives” would have reacted. But wait, the argument for taking Saddam out was not orginally framed in those terms, so we’ll never really know, will we ?

  31. Joe,

    I have no illusions about the humanitarian wonderfulness of the Iraq war. I think we went into Iraq for a lot of reason; some of them good, some of them not. I was merely pointing out the more humanitarian of the reasons and their similarities to the reasons progressives believe we should be sending Marines to Dafur. Similarities they seem steadfastly unwilling to acknowledge.

    I cannot help but wonder if George Bush and Dick Cheney got up before Congress and made speeches about pulling troops out of Iraq and sending them to fight in Dafur if progressives would applaud or protest.

    In the end I think it has a good deal less to do with the motivations than with who is sitting in the oval office making the decisions.

  32. So it is neither fair nor accurate to speculate on the motives of progressives by assuming the humanitarian wonderfulness of the Iraq War.

    Where does Weigel say you’re assuming the humanitarian wonderfulness of the Iraq War? I think the bigger question is, if the Iraq War hasn’t been much of a success, why do you think the same techniques done for different reasons will have more luck in the Sudan?

    I also have to ask how this is different from Somalia, and how we’re supposed to avoid what happened there.

  33. If they see America acting in its self interest as evil, wouldn’t if follow that they see America as evil as well?

    Stephen, what I’m trying to say is: No more evil than everyone else who acts in their own self interest. Unless they see America as the only nation that acts in its self interest, it would not follow that they believe America is particularly evil. Thus, they are not necessarily agitating against America per se, only specific evil interventions that they see America undertaking.

    I will concede that some elements of the Left do seem to believe that America (or more broadly, Western civilization) is an anomalous generator of evil in world that would otherwise be a nice little multicultural paradise free of war, slavery, patriarchy or pollution. But I really haven’t noticed that so much since the end of the 1980s.

  34. 1) Jumping into the lake to save the drowning child of a stranger is selfless, therefore noble, and you should do it.

    2) On the other hand, jumping into the lake to save the drowning billionaire who is known for giving out generous rewards is tainted with self-interest, therefore not at all noble. In fact, it pretty much makes it wrong to do it.

    Agree with you Stevo. Liberals/progressives are tainted with the Marxist idea of profit as evil. Intervening when we have no self-interest shows noble intention and, as we all know, with progressives, inttentions are everything.

  35. Church Lady,

    Spell it backwards and it’s “lived.” I learned that at the same time I learned that dog spell backwards is God. I think I dismissed it as stupid about 10 minutes later, but I was an above average first grader.

  36. I was merely pointing out the more humanitarian of the reasons and their similarities to the reasons progressives believe we should be sending Marines to Dafur.

    Just like we went into Iraq for a number of reasons, I suppose Progressives may have opposed the Iraq War for a number of reasons too.

    I might have supported the Iraq War myself had there been a clear exit strategy or substantial support from our traditional allies. …Historically, how do Progressives feel about the support of the UN?

  37. I really do know how to spell intention, and the second item was supposed to be included in the italics tag.

  38. Ruthless, you’re not making a bit of sense with your postmodern idiocy on morality. You act as if calling something evil makes us all St. Augustine…well, not quite:

    -The killing, raping or robbing of innocent people…what would you call that?
    -Advocation of the same…lemme guess, they’re just “misunderstood”.

    No wonder people conflate libertarianism with libertinism…it’s advocates don’t acknowledge good and evil, right and wrong.

  39. Stephen,

    I think a lot of your points are valid but at the same time I think some of them ignore extremely topical facts for the sake of painting “progressives” in a bad light.

    “I was merely pointing out the more humanitarian of the reasons and their similarities to the reasons progressives believe we should be sending Marines to Dafur.”

    I don’t think that’s the point. As was mentioned above, Saddam’s genocide had essentially stopped by the time we decided to invade. There is no doubt he was a horrible person and ruler, but the genocide was stopped by sanctions and oversight by the time we invaded, making the argument that we were stopping genocide basically irrelevant. On top of that, sanctions and bombings from the subsequent war were killing far more people than Saddam at the time. There is a huge difference in the motives of course, seeing that Saddam was intentionally brutal, whereas innocent deaths from the US policies or forces were incidental and not intentional, but the end result is worth considering. The argument for Darfur is that the genocide there is going on right now and sending in forces would result in a legitimate chance to stop it.

    “if George Bush and Dick Cheney got up before Congress and made speeches about pulling troops out of Iraq and sending them to fight in Dafur if progressives would applaud or protest.”

    Good question. But at the same time you’re simplifying both situations and implying that Darfur=Iraq, which it does not. Any intervention in Darfur would most likely come as part of a coalition or UN force intending on restoring order and stopping the genocide, not completely occupying the country and installing a new government. In the long run there’s a strong argument for a new government since ideally it would be more moral and create less problems for the international community but I think there is a lot of doubt about America’s efforts in Iraq, and whether or not that was the primary idea.

    “In the end I think it has a good deal less to do with the motivations than with who is sitting in the oval office making the decisions.”

    Maybe yes maybe no. In my experience conservatives are capable of just as much blind hatred of anything “liberal”. Just because it seems that the other side is illogically opposed to a politician doesn’t mean they lack valid arguments. At any rate it’s a major problem, people on both sides reduce their opponents to a set of stereotypes and use that in every political debate and we get nowhere with it. I don’t think conservatives are all blindly patriotic and I don’t think they’re all warmongers either. Likewise I don’t want to be painted as some bleeding heart activist who lacks a solid view of reality. Every problem, every person has nuance, and when you remove that you lose all ability to consider the issue logically.

  40. Ken,

    Our “traditional allies” wh0 didn’t offer support were the one’s getting rich via oil for food?

    And as for the support of “traditional allies” I believe with the exception of the French and the Germans we pretty much had that.

  41. Any intervention in Darfur would most likely come as part of a coalition or UN force

    Sort of like the coalition that went into Iraq?

    Personally I would like to see the UN tackle this. If the UN is incapable or unwilling to deal with Dafur, what does it continue to exist for?

  42. Because invading Darfur won’t raise the price of oil, so the Carlyle Group can make shitloads of money.

  43. Actually Sudan does have oil and the fact that most of it lies in the South was a major factor in prolonging the civil war.

  44. And as for the support of “traditional allies” I believe with the exception of the French and the Germans we pretty much had that.

    As I recall, and someone correct me if I’m wrong, the President decided that we didn’t need the UN. …hell, if memory serves, the idea was that we didn’t want the UN.

    I remember France pullin’ a fast one on Powell at one point, but it remains unclear to me that the UN wouldn’t have supported us in time. …perhaps in less time than it’s taken to bring the occupation to a close. The UN may not be good for much, but, boy, wouldn’t it have been great to dump Iraq in their lap a couple years ago?

    This is one of the greatest distinctions between Ronald Reagan and Bush the Lesser. …When European opinion turned against Reagan’s missle deployment program, he went to Europe and spoke over the heads of the opposition directly to the European people. …and Mitterrand, Kohl and others ran and won partly on a program of following the American President and putting their own country in harm’s way.

    …when European opinion turned against Bush the Lesser, if memory serves, he slammed the door in their faces and turned on the sprinklers. …but you’re right, except for the support of the Security Council and NATO, all our traditional allies were on board.

  45. Ken,

    The U.N. was never going to be on board. Aside from the efforts of our “ally” France, Russia and China (hardly traditional allies) would have blocked UN involvement.

    And while NATO may not have officially participated in the initial invasion they have been active in training Iraqi security forces since the fall of Hussein.

  46. Funny – I saw a couple of those signs myself while taking in the spectacle yesterday. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that these rallies apparently manage to attract almost every lefty fruitcake (or simply anti-GOP fruitcake) within a hundred-mile radius. To wit: I also saw several signs calling for “Victory for the People’s Resistance in Iraq and Palestine”, and at least a hundred full-blown Communists toting red flags and chanting “Death, death, death to the fascists!” Also saw a few signs of the “9-11 was a lie/conspiracy” ilk (kind of sad given that this was in an area where you could actually see the twin towers from your average apartment building).

    My guess is that most left-wing proponents of armed intervention in Darfur aren’t quite so unequivocal when voicing this double standard.

  47. Perhaps it is because they don’t support America’s interests?

    You speak as if “America’s interests” are absolute, objectively measured things, as if everyone should agree on what they are.

    Perhaps it is because they don’t support America?

    Again this supposes that what YOU believe are America’s interests are, therefore, America’s interests.

    Yes, I’m questioning their patriotism.

    And for no rational reason. Do you question the patriotism of all the people in the military who think invading Iraq was not in America’s interest? Do you question the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with you regarding what America’s interests really are?

  48. Ahh, leftist wackos…even more colorful than the rightist ones (and here I include Pat “Assassinate Hugo Chavez” Buchanan and Ann “Convert them to Christianity!” Coulter). Most leftists are terribly earnest and not so bizarre.

  49. “Sort of like the coalition that went into Iraq?

    There was no coalition in Iraq. There was the US and England contributing essentially the entire fighting force and other countries who basically gave us the thumbs up. There was non-combatant support from some European countries, much of which was withdrawn after a year or two, but the truth is that most countries supporting us did so solely for political reasons. When Bush was speaking of his “coalition” he talked about leaders that covertly supported us but wouldn’t make that support public. When you’re in a situation where you can’t admit to supporting a war, it’s a good sign there’s something wrong with the war.

    “My guess is that most left-wing proponents of armed intervention in Darfur aren’t quite so unequivocal when voicing this double standard.”

    Rallies contain hundreds, maybe thousands of individuals representing as many opinions. There will always be fringe groups who might contest that Bush was behind 9/11 or that we should execute all the immigrants but no one seriously listens to them, and they certainly don’t represent the “group”.

  50. Stevo,

    I will concede that some elements of the Left do seem to believe that America (or more broadly, Western civilization) is an anomalous generator of evil in world that would otherwise be a nice little multicultural paradise free of war, slavery, patriarchy or pollution. But I really haven’t noticed that so much since the end of the 1980s.

    Then, maybe you haven’t noticed that what the Left hates most are capitalism and industrialization. They haven’t been so vocal since Reagan left office, because there basically hasn’t been anybody serious at the national level defending capitalism since Reagan left (and I don’t care if Reagan was a hypocrite, point is the rhetoric).

    The Left doesn’t hate the West so much when they can socialize it, and pull out by the roots anything that smells leftover from the Enlightenment.

  51. The Left doesn’t hate the West so much when they can socialize it, and pull out by the roots anything that smells leftover from the Enlightenment.

    To be fair, the Enlightenment isn’t exactly in vogue among the right either. I find it hard to imagine the Enlightenment philosophers opposing stem cell research or a lot of the other issues that seem to terrify the right these days.

  52. While there aren’t that many “Enlightenment rightists” around these days, there seem to be slightly more than there are “Enlightenment leftists”, and they don’t seem to feel the need to apologize for themselves. Every time I read an article by an Enlightenment leftist, he portrays himself as being one of a very small crowd fighting an overwhelming mainstream. Whether this is any more true numerically, or just part of a tendency towards drama, I couldn’t really say, though. I also feel that there are more ELs among the “common people” than there are among authors, politicians, “opinion leaders”, etc., which may – for better or worse – make the elite of the American Left more out of touch with its so-called constituents than the elite of the American Right…

  53. You may agree or not about intervening in Darfur, but the action there would be self-contained. Make certain behaviors stop.

    In the Iraq case, it was more serious. We did not just make Saddam stop doing one thing, we committed ourselves to regime change, and rebuiling Iraq as a flourishing arab democracy, an example for its neighbors.

    It was an overly ambitious project, and the gods always punish hubris.

  54. Mr. Macklin,

    “I was merely pointing out the more humanitarian of the reasons and their similarities to the reasons progressives believe we should be sending Marines to Dafur.”

    And I was ponting out that progressives did not generally believe that those “more humanitarian of the reasons” for the Iraq War were the actual reasons for the war, nor did they believe that they were likely to be addressed effectively via the invasion.

    Sandy, “I think the bigger question is, if the Iraq War hasn’t been much of a success, why do you think the same techniques done for different reasons will have more luck in the Sudan?” I think you’re making a mistake that is mose commonly made by hippie progressives – lumping all military force under a single rubric. In reality, the suggested actions in Darfur – the presence of a protective force capable of defeating the Janjaweed if they attack a village, coupled with international pressure on the Khartoum regime – is a million miles away from the actions we took in Iraq – the conquest of a nation, the defeat of its military forces in a main-force battle, the toppling and replacement of its government, and the attempted imposition of a liberal democracy from the outside.

  55. Are we not going to attempt to install liberal democracy in Darfur? At some point, they will have to be politically governed.

    Again, how is it different from Somalia, which was also different from Iraq?

  56. I’m convinced the main reason liberals were against humanitarian intervention in Iraq – Saddam did commit genocide against the Kurds, etc. – is that they don’t like Bush.

    Note how they don’t get all legalistic about international law when it comes to Sudan. I mean, China and Russia are against doing anything there, just as they were in agreement with liberals about doing nothing about Iraq.

  57. I’m convinced the main reason liberals were against humanitarian intervention in Iraq – Saddam did commit genocide against the Kurds, etc. – is that they don’t like Bush.

    Note how they don’t get all legalistic about international law when it comes to Sudan. I mean, China and Russia are against doing anything there, just as they were in agreement with liberals about doing nothing about Iraq.

  58. Anyone who believes that the invasion of Iraq was done for humanitarian reasons is a moron.

    Anyone who believes that people against the war just didn’t like Bush (implying some irrational hatred of the man) is a moron.

    Anyone who thinks that the “Left” hates capitalism and wish for a Stalinist world is a moron.

    Anyone who thinks that the Sudanese people just aren’t worth doing SOMETHING to help them in a time of genocide is a scumbag.

    JMJ

  59. Deus Ex – Did they protest? ISTR a remarkable lack of protest over the US’ bombing of a civilian pharmaceutical plant when it was done at Clinton’s order.

    Saying “they” is painting with much too broad of a brush. It’s like lumping Ron Paul into the “conservative” cause.

    There were liberals that didn’t want to go into Rwanda, there were those that did. There were liberals that didn’t want to go into Kosovo, there were those that did…I’m sure you’ll find the same with Darfur.

    The interesting thing to me, at least, will be the liberal reaction when we do go into Darfur and CNN reports on innocents being killed.

  60. The trouble with “evil” is, add a “d” to it, and what have you got?

    Huh?

    Come on Bri! Eviled! Which is a great new word that I will now begin using.

  61. jmj is that like what gets you back home from oz or some type of harry potter spell? it’s click three times and there’s no place like home, u need to recalibrate your lil Orphan Annie decoder

  62. The top complaints against the ongoing Iraq War was/is the weekly loss of American lives and billions of dollars wrapped up in a country – one inflamed with factions of hard line Muslims, no less – who posed little or no direct threat to the U.S.

    Can we be sure that Sudanese government henchmen wouldn’t send suicide bombers and the like at American military “peace-keepers” and civilians? How long would US troops have to remain there? Would violence spill across Chad and beyond? What new sectarian violence would erupt?

    So… how would Darfur be any different?

  63. I’m convinced the main reason liberals were against humanitarian intervention in Iraq – Saddam did commit genocide against the Kurds, etc. – is that they don’t like Bush.

    Yet many (I would even venture to say most) liberals/progressives supported the action in Afghanistan, and many many of them were yelling to finish the job there and send more troops (since only Kabul was really “secured” — If I remmeber correctly, Karzai, while running for office had a hard time traveling outside of Kabul for fear of assasination) — so how does that really fit with the whole “they just hate bush” meme.

    Why is it so hard to swallow that “the left” in this case was actually correct in their predictions of disasterous outcomes in Iraq, and that their opposition was in fact a well thought out and principled one?

    When you are a raging partisan, then everyone who opposes you MUST be doing so for partisan reasons

  64. “Are we not going to attempt to install liberal democracy in Darfur? At some point, they will have to be politically governed.”

    Eventually yes, but democracy isn’t always the answer, at least initially. If you think of where democracy comes from, in almost every case successful democracies have been the result of some violentnonviolent revolution by the people. It’s a system of government that doesn’t work unless the status quo supports it and that’s why it’s so hard to just say, “ok be democratic everyone”. In fact, a much bigger force for change is capitalism and a free-market economy. It’s interesting to note that not all free-market countries are capitalist, but all capitalist countries have free-market economies. There are a number of social factors that go into it, but introducing a free-market system eventually creates the environment neccessary for a truly democratic government. Governments like Darfur and Iraq need to eventually be changed, but forcing a new system usually fails, and Iraq will probably collapse and revert to another authoritarian government within 5-10 years of American troops exiting completely.

    “I’m convinced the main reason liberals were against humanitarian intervention in Iraq – Saddam did commit genocide against the Kurds, etc. – is that they don’t like Bush.”

    And every Pro-Bush supporter just assumes that the other side knows nothing and they just dislike Bush so there’s no reason to listen to them. What an ignorant way of dismissing legitimate concerns. Saddam did commit genocide, but that had been under control for 10 years before we invaded. What was our reason? America commited genocide in the past against the native americans and in the Phillipines, and killed well over 100,000 innocent civilians in Iraq as a result of our war there. Should we be invaded for that? Any argument that we went into Iraq because we were just “nice people” is naive to an extreme degree. Saddam was a brutal dictator but nothing had changed in years so why did we choose that point to invade? obviously there was more at work than just bringing peace to the country.

  65. Sandy,

    “Are we not going to attempt to install liberal democracy in Darfur?” I certainly hope not – as we’ve seen, the attempt to forcibly install democracy from outside is a bloody fool’s errand. Though I would hope we would provide for the conditions that would allow it to develop on its own.

    “Again, how is it different from Somalia, which was also different from Iraq?” I suppose it is similar to Somalia, an operation that saved half a million lives.

    D Allen,

    “Can we be sure that Sudanese government henchmen wouldn’t send suicide bombers and the like at American military “peace-keepers” and civilians?” In Iraq, American troops are carrying out their operations, driving their convoys, and basing their troops in areas whose populations are connected culturally, politically, and religiously to the insurgents. Almost all of the insurgent attacks and terrorist bombings are happening in the Sunni Triangle.

    In contrast, troops in Darfur would be in and among a population that most assuredly does not share cultural, political, and religious connections to either the Janjaweed, or to the Islamist, Arabist Khartoum regime.

  66. joe

    The trouble with this idea is the same as the trouble at the heart of the administrations project in Iraq…we wouldn’t be taking sides.

    Do you WANT to see parts of tribal Sudan become independent from Kartoum? Fine – then send some troops and get some people killed (including some of the troops). But if you have “no opinion” on this issue (or none you are willing to commit to) then you must NOT send troops, and get people killed – just shut up and buy oil from those who sell it.
    Same in Iraq: with a commitment to Shi’a rule and Kurdish independence we could have been home by now.
    Same in Bosnia – partition, yes!
    The genocide in Ruanda ended because the Tutsi WON…remember. The only useful thing Clinton could have done was to help them win sooner.
    Not taking sides is a recipe for disaster.

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