‘is it better to save no one?’

A protester holds a banner beneath a Kingdom of Libya flag during an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in Benghazi, March 31

Nicholas Kristof (New York Times): Critics from left and right are jumping all over President Obama for his Libyan intervention, arguing that we don’t have an exit plan, that he hasn’t articulated a grand strategy, that our objectives are fuzzy, that Islamists could gain strength. And those critics are all right.

But let’s back up a moment and recognize a larger point: Mr. Obama and other world leaders did something truly extraordinary, wonderful and rare: they ordered a humanitarian intervention that saved thousands of lives and that even Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s closest aides seem to think will lead to his ouster.

We were all moved by Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who burst into the reporters’ hotel in Tripoli with her story of gang-rape and torture, only to be dragged away by security goons. If we had not intervened in Libya, Qaddafi forces would have reached Benghazi and there might have been thousands of Eman al-Obeidys.

Eman al-Obeidy

It has been exceptionally rare for major powers to intervene militarily for predominantly humanitarian reasons…. We are inconsistent. There’s no doubt that we cherry-pick our humanitarian interventions. But just because we allowed Rwandans or Darfuris to be massacred, does it really follow that to be consistent we should allow Libyans to be massacred as well? Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to consistently save none?

….The difficulties of Iraq and Afghanistan have again made many Americans – particularly on the left – allergic to any use of military force, even to save lives in a limited operation with very few civilian casualties, like the one in Libya.

…The International Criminal Court is investigating Colonel Qaddafi, with an indictment possible as soon as next month. It would be a fine step toward ending global impunity for atrocities if a SWAT team of Libyans and coalition forces swooped down one day and seized Colonel Qaddafi to face trial in The Hague. It’s the kind of thing that no one can predict, but it’s an ending that would leave this Libyan incursion remembered not only for the lives it saved, but also as a milestone in the history of humanitarianism.

Full article here

Thank you Dorothy and BWD (see here) for highlighting this article

10 Responses to “‘is it better to save no one?’”

  1. 1 ballerina
    April 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    we are truly witnesses to “CHANGE”
    the world is changing right in front of our eyes. And God has put the best man in charge.

  2. 3 Debz
    April 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    It is wonderful to see the Libyan people thanking us. We do have the best man in charge.

  3. 4 HZ
    April 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    That signs says a lot. I too feel that the best man is in charge also.

  4. 6 bjw2
    April 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I posted this on BWD on the same topic.

    IMO if the events in Libya revealed anything to me it’s that I would not want a President Kucinich, leading the free world.

    For people like Dennis, there are no grey areas but only black and white. That’s fine when you’re dealing with abstract issues, but when the reality is that you have a nut stating that he’s going to go door to door and slaughter his own people, do you take action immediately or wait for Congresses to take a vote for authorization? I mean lets face it with the bag of crazies that were elected last Nov we couldn’t even count on a up or down vote on how many stripes are on the American flag from this bunch.

    Today the President’s critics will respond to his actions in Libya by asking the question “Well, what about the Ivory Coast”?
    Can anyone on this thread recall at any time when those on the left such as Thom Hartmann, FDL, DK, Cenk Uygur have ever discussed at great length the situation in the Ivory Coast and made it an in-depth topic of discussion before Libya? It is only now that they care So..so..so much for the poor people in the Ivory Coast.

    They’re becoming so predictable, that they’re starting to lose all credibility.

    • 7 EDP4BHO
      April 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      So true, so true. Loved your post. Let’s call em out and never let up.

    • 8 Dorothy Rissman
      April 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      He is a one trick pony. You certainly got that right. I bet you, that all of these beefers and moaner politicians would not be purists as they are now. It is a game them play. OH, I am sosoooo liberal.

      Note: Talking Point Memo has an article referring to the fact that the president has asked the president of Yemen to step down.

      • 9 Dorothy Rissman
        April 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm

        Sorry, it was supposed to read I bet you those beefers and moans liberals were president, they would not be a perfect little purists they are now. I type too fast because I get so excited. I read what I write, but my eyes see what I think I wrote. Okay, bye.

  5. 10 Dorothy Rissman
    April 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you Chipsticks for mentioning the article I posted. It is nice to be a valued student.

    Again, I want to go off topic to share something else from The Bridge. I know Obama is amazing, but times I am flabbergasted by how much he knows on so many issues. The breadth and depth of his learning, while still a young man, is amazing.

    When he went to work with Business International Corporation after leaving Columbia, his job in a broad sense dealt with economics. “…he had taken a senior seminar at Columbia on foreign aid and capital flows between the developed and developing worlds. In his job he found himself doing research on companies, investments, and levels of risk, and at times, found it stultifying, even morally discomforting.” He was also working with Japanese financiers or German bond traders.

    Do you remember how “everyone” was saying, he knows nothing about economics. Ha. Take that Paul Krugman.

    The man just gets bigger and bigger in my heart and mind.

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