January 14, 2004

Kosovo vs Iraq

from - smijer

I don't think Oliver goes far enough in drawing out the differences between Iraq and Kosovo inthis post. (I know, I know - enough Oliver Willis, already! Ok, I'll give him a break after this one).

He makes an excellent start of pointing out the differences. But he fails to make a point or two explicit. For instance, when he laments that much of the Iraqi body count was being created when the U.S. was still giving Iraq clandestine support, he neglects to make it explicit that there was no on-going mass-murder on record at the time of our invasion. In other words, unlike Kosovo, we were not doing this to stop a mass murder. There were human rights abuses and torture still going on in Iraq (as in other countries we still support), but not mass-murder.

Of course, the shifting justification for the war has been apparent for some time to all but the most teary-eyed of Bush supporters - who only remember that he definitely mentioned "other reasons" besides WMD for going to war. But even those most dedicated of Bush apologists must acknowledge that, whether or not Bush really entertained human rights violations as a reason for war, he certainly never took the bold step of demanding they be stopped, and threatening to stop them by force if they were not stopped otherwise.

When Clinton decided to intercede in Kosovo, it was after NATO issued an ultimatum addressing the humanitarian crisis. Milosovic and the KLA had a chance to end the atrocities and avoid war. The Iraqis never had that option. That's a huge difference.

I'll assert now, and I'll stand by this with regard to any conflict the U.S. has engaged in. Furthermore, I believe my thinking to be representative of mainstream and traditional American and European thought on war not provoked by imminent threat or actual agression: The need for intervention must be compelling and transparent, and there must be an option for avoiding the war by eliminating the need for it.

There was nothing the Iraqis could have done to avoid this war.

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Posted by smijer at January 14, 2004 09:15 PM
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