Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Into the Darkness You Go

[update - 07/22/2012: Yeah, no, fuck this.  What the hell was I thinking?]

*Much more important update* This post over at "You Are Not So Smart" is probably relevant and, indirectly, offers a counterpoint of sorts to what I've said above. It deals with the 'sunk cost fallacy'.

I have a lot of respect for Christopher Hitchens*. I found his opinions on the Iraq War (mostly in favor of it) to be very compelling. His conviction that the invasion of Iraq was justified is rooted in the fact the Saddam Hussein deserved to be executed for crimes against humanity. Saddam had used WMDs in the past, had promised to use them in the future, had committed acts of genocide, forced disappearances etc.

What he neglects to mention is that the Bush Administration obviously gave even less of a fuck about the wellbeing of the Iraqis than Saddam did (the fact that the administration was also significantly less directly malicious towards them is irrelevant to this post). I now think that Hitchens is misguided in his defense of the Iraq War. We went to war based off of blatant lies and then did nothing to help the Iraqi people rebuild after we destroyed their nation. Regardless of whether Saddam should have been removed from power, what we have done in Iraq is monstrous. False pretenses aside, once we were committed to military action we had the chance to do something great for the Iraqi people. Instead of even attempting to help them rebuild we ignored all of the problems and Iraqi protests until the nation disintegrated into sectarian violence and civil war (re: exactly like Afghanistan).

Watching Rachel Maddow's discussions with Richard Engel (two people who I also have a great deal of respect for) I noticed something about Engel's reactions to her questions. When Maddow asked why the we aren't stepping in militarily to protect civilians in other nations Engel immediately started talking about how much more atrocious the Gaddafi regime is. Engel also, as part of his 'reporting', seemed to be pleading for more direct military support for the rebels, specifically close air support**.

Even though there are many obvious differences between the situations, Engel's response reminds me a lot of Hitchen's support of the Iraq war.

Maybe it's sentimental on both their part and mine, but I think they have the right idea. Regardless of whether we should have intervened in Libya, something I feel very conflicted about, we once again have an opportunity to attempt something that will truly help the Libyan people in the long run.

Success certainly isn't guaranteed; but let's at least try this time.

*update*: Just to make it explicit that I'm a deranged left-wing liberal (or so my conservative relatives claim) -
  • Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are de facto traitors because of their roles in privatizing our military.
  • The military-industrial complex is as close to Pure Fucking Evil as our species can get.
  • I'm extremely distressed (and disgusted) that Obama hasn't managed to get Guantanamo closed, hasn't stopped drone-strikes in Yemen, Somalia, etc.
  • et cetera.
  • et cetera.
Consider those bullet points to be part of my growing list of "Things I intend to write a post about. Maybe."

*link is to a semi-official youtube channel
** link to wikipedia article on the subject

No comments:

Post a Comment