Liberty asked in the Liberal Quiz comments:
Do you really think that no war is justified or that no war can be humanitarian? Do you beleive, as Ghandi did, that we should not have entered WWII?
That is the one thing you have said that does seem like a leftwing-moonbat position, no offense.
Is it better to allow a brutal, dictatorial, bloody, evil regime to kill many more innocents than would die in the war and in addition oppress, rape and torure so many times more, than to engage in a war to stop it?
Click to see my answer.
People make a lot of assumptions about war… assumptions that are totally contradictory to the reality of war.
War is simply not something that can solve problems. Time and time again it has been proven that war only brings more suffering, death, uncertainty and instability than any dictatorial regime could ever muster.
No I don’t share Ghandhis’ view that you shouldn’t have entered WWII… but I do believe that the World Wars were inflicted upon humanity to teach us a lesson.
To address “Humanitarian War” in general… now isn’t that an oxymoron? “Humanitarian War”. Think about that for a second.
Are they possible and can they work? Yes and Yes. Bosnia, Somalia, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia are all examples, successful and not, where military intervention was deemed necessary and humanitarian reasons were the driving force.
Humanitarian Intervention. That is an important term… and it is different than the oxymoronic (is that a word? it is now) version previously. It is also more indicative of a scenario that can work. In my opinion, humanitarian missions that demand military intervention can *only* be successful if they, at least, are carried out with the cooperation or aquiescence of the those committing humanitarian crimes.
Brought into a totally hostile environment, the chances of success, and the chances of exaserbating the situation are much much greater. Somalia is a prime example.
On Iraq specifically, it is clear that the Humanitarian angle was always an afterthought until every other “reason” was brought under intense criticism.
At the UN on September 12, 2002 Bush emphasized Saddams humanitarian record, UN Security Council Resolutions, Biological and Nuclear weapons and the “Grave and Gathering Danger.”
In October of the same year Bush focused on ” a grave threat to peace, and America’s determination to lead the world in confronting that threat.” The humanitarian aspect was barely touched on…
In February of 2004 Colin Powell addressed the UNSC… Saddams gasing of the Kurds comprised barely 1/5 of his total speech… and of that the atrocities he cited happened before or immediately after the Gulf War (Gassing of the Kurds, Iranians, put down of ’91 uprising of Marsh Arabs and Shia)
Much of the evidence for humanitarian violations came from work done by the UN and Human Rights Watch.
If you’d like to see the evolution of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, HRWs’
World Reports are probably your best source of information, and comparison when you’re talking Humanitarian crisis in the world.
Here are the three most recent reports:
(Notice in the 2002 and 2003 reports the reference to the Islamic extremist groups in the Kurdish controlled parts of Iraq… )
The Iraq war has caused incredible instability in Iraq, unemployement, lack of basic needs (electricity, water, fuel), sharp religions tensions, and a failed state.
Before the Iraq war, yes, Iraqis were oppressed, yes a minority were subjected to horrible fates, yes Saddam himself was a lunatic, HOWEVER, the majority of Iraqis led fairly normal lives, Iraqis were able to work and earn a living and get by. The Kurds had their own defacto country. The Shia were protected by the southern no-fly-zone.
There are many other ways to bring about regime change and reform than all out war. You need only look at Iran to see the possiblity.
Human Rights Watch weighed in on this very issue in their 2004 World Report. They sum it up very well:
A humanitarian rationale was occasionally offered for the war, but it was so plainly subsidiary to other reasons that we felt no need to address it. Indeed, if Saddam Hussein had been overthrown and the issue of weapons of mass destruction reliably dealt with, there clearly would have been no war, even if the successor government were just as repressive. Some argued that Human Rights Watch should support a war launched on other grounds if it would arguably lead to significant human rights improvements. But the substantial risk that wars guided by non-humanitarian goals will endanger human rights keeps us from adopting that position.
The Iraq war was not primarily about humanitarian intervention and if it were it would have been pretty tenuous because of the lack of immediate crisis in the region when compared to the other events happening in the world at the time.
The result of the war has simply proven that war that is not defensive or truly based on a real need for intervention is doomed to cause far more suffering, death and chaos than possible with a single dictator.
Occham’s Razor says the simplest answer is most often the correct one.
For this war the “Answer” in the Middle East since the start of the Industrial Revolution has always been and still is the same?
Oil and Power.