R2P: Libya Intervention Historic Milestone

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This is a guest note by Francesco Femia, Program Director at the Connect U.S. Fund, where he directs programs ranging from climate and development policy, to mass atrocity prevention and response.
responsibility-to-protect-r2p-united-nations-blue-helmets.jpgThe Intervention in Libya: A Milestone in Human Progress
When explaining his decision to authorize a military intervention in Libya (which he actually did well before Monday’s speech), President Obama stated: “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.” There was history in that statement. It was the latest affirmation of a human rights movement that grew out of an unexpectedly violent decade.
Following the brutal massacres committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s, the world asked itself — at what point is it our responsibility to stop the slaughter of innocent people? In response, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked a group of prominent human rights leaders to answer the question. The result, debuting publicly in 2001, revolutionized the concept of sovereignty by arguing that when governments fail in their responsibility to protect their populations from mass atrocities (regardless of whether it is unable or unwilling), that responsibility falls to the international community. This doctrine, dubbed the Responsibility to Protect (or R2P), was largely endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly in 2005, pledging that the international community would act in such cases “through appropriate and necessary means.”
Since the doctrine’s debut over a decade ago, mass atrocities have occurred and gone largely unchecked in close to twenty countries, most visibly and tragically in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Millions of innocent people have been slaughtered, largely without consequences for the perpetrators.
Then in late February of 2011, the Responsibility to Protect was put to the test again. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, likely conscious of the international community’s abysmal record on preventing atrocities, told residents of the eastern city of Benghazi that he would “show no mercy,” vowing to find them “in their closets.” Gaddafi was threatening the slaughter of over 100,000 people, and given his recent brutal actions in the west, there was every reason to believe he would carry it out. The international community faced a choice: to act with the necessary force needed to prevent a massacre, or to continue its track record of inaction.
This time, it acted. The U.N. Security Council, with the unprecedented support of the Arab League, authorized the world’s first measure to truly enforce the Responsibility to Protect: a military intervention with a mandate to protect civilians and to use “all necessary measures” to do so. It was a moment for enforcing justice on a massive scale, and President Obama seized it.
No matter how the international operation in Libya turns out, we should reflect on the enormity of this decision.
For the first time in history, the international community collectively decided to use legitimate force to stop a leader from committing mass atrocities against his own people. That puts us in a new chapter of human history – one where people struggling for human rights – or more simply, for their right to not be massacred with impunity – have an international system to look to for support. That’s a world where leaders will think twice, or not at all, about physically assaulting the people they should be protecting.
International action in Libya marked a major moment in human progress. The question now is: will the international community consolidate that moment and prevent mass atrocities elsewhere?
— Francesco Femia

Comments

48 comments on “R2P: Libya Intervention Historic Milestone

  1. alex scipio says:

    The headline has a typo: It ought to read:
    “R2P…. Historic Millstone”

    Reply

  2. rc says:

    It’s the OIL stupid!

    Reply

  3. Tank Man says:

    “Do you believe in ever using a military force to deal with any
    problem anywhere?”
    Warren,
    I’m not opposed to using military force when the Powell
    doctrine is applied and/or genocide is taking place, emphasis
    on in progress.

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  4. Cee says:

    Keep those motivations secret.
    CIA Holds Back Release of Documents about Iran and Congo

    Reply

  5. JohnH says:

    Metzler’s question–“Do you believe in ever using a military force to deal with any problem anywhere?”
    Metzler, do you trust Obama’s motives for going to war? I don’t. By now the “humanitarian” record is broken. It’s what is always used to sucker people into war. It’s always the bait before the switch. And the result is almost always an exceedingly inhumane, horrendously expensive war that few would agree to if presented with the real agenda and costs.
    If Obama would be honest with the American people, present us the real agenda, then I might consider whether military force was justified or not.

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  6. Warren Metzler says:

    There is something I am not getting about most of the posts here. Do you believe in ever using a military force to deal with any problem anywhere? If the answer is no; and the only rational basis for that answer is to be a pacifist, I accept that response. I am a pacifist myself in term of any actions I take, and I am willing to accept suffering in the short run for a viable permanent solution in the long run.
    But if you believe in using military force some of the time, it would appear to be the conditions in which you would support such an action would all be met in Libya. There is a tyrant, who after initially giving the impression he was a freedom loving human, has in the past twenty years been more and more moving to an hereditary dictatorship, with all the familial and crony massive corruption that always occurs in all such situations throughout history, progressively removing all the benefits he originally provided his people (free quality medical care, free quality education, income and gender equality), has become willing to slaughter anyone who disagrees with him (including more than 1,000 in a single day at times). We have a Arab Spring, where the Arab people are finally waking up to demanding their universal human rights, who in each country begin with peaceful protests, with a certain number of casualties always occurring in the beginning, but in the case of Libya moved to an armed opposition because the tyrant begin to have his forces shoot people in the street, and shell their houses, and in a period of a few short weeks has killed several thousand.
    Those of you who are willing to use military force in some circumstances, does this situation not fit your criteria?
    Which, I claim, ought to be based on circumstance on the ground. It ought not to be based on whether leaders who promote it lie, or present false arguments, or have a history of acting in a manner contrary to what they propose here.
    If you are going to intervene, it is only rational to eliminate the tyrant’s air, sea and land attacks, and to provide the opposition with the means to eventually win the conflict. To act otherwise is to be stupid.
    One more point. It is absurd to claim that when circumstances justify a military intervention, it makes a difference who does it. Such as in Libya, the Arab League, or the African Union, but not Western powers. What gives the Western powers their bad reputation is unsavory oppressive actions in the past, not doing something now that all reasonable people agree is a just act. If this intervention is justified, and Western powers do it, the people of the Middle East will be grateful, and use this action to add points in the plus column of the Western powers’ ledger.
    Finally, if Francesco’s points are valid, it is irrelevant whether or not he ever had a “real job”, or has done sufficient night reading. Valid assessments are a product of presenting a rational overview of real evidence. Valid assessments are never a function of one’s work background.

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  7. erichwwk says:

    Tom Hayden’s take on Samantha Powers at The Nation is here:
    http://www.thenation.com/print/article/159570/samantha-power-goes-war

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  8. Don Bacon says:

    The clear evidence is that U.S. military interventions kill and maim tens of thousands, displace hundreds of thousands (a million from Iraq to Syria alone), and produce detention, rape and torture in thousands more.
    Does the U.S. has a responsibility to kill? No.
    That can’t be a good thing, yet the Connect U.S. Fund thinks that it would be good for Libya. My guess is that it’s good for funding the Connect U.S. Fund.

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  9. Tank Man says:

    Legitimacy? I believe it

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  10. JohnH says:

    More BS from Femia: “[Libya]It was the place where the U.S. actually had the opportunity to do something, do something fast, and have a very reasonable chance of success.”
    The US didn’t have the opportunity to “do something” in Iraq (perhaps a million dead civilians), Afghanistan (untold dead civilians), or Honduras, where massive human rights abuses followed the 2009 coup? Obama didn’t have the opportunity to “do something” besides sit on his hands when Israel conducted its latest pogrom in Gaza? Obama doesn’t have the opportunity to “do something” in Yemen, Oman, Bahrain and Jordan? Pul-leez!
    Doesn’t Femia find it strange that the only time the US chooses to “do something” is when it involves a regime it doesn’t like, particularly if that regime sits on vast riches or pipeline routes. Otherwise, the regime is free to be as brutal as it pleases.
    Give me a break! For a change, let’s NOT look at the “international community’s” noble rhetoric–look at how it behaves.

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  11. DonS says:

    Jonathan Turley – simply stated: “Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough has come to the rescue. He told reporters that

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  12. DonS says:

    Thought you were movin on Drew ; )
    Anyway, I appreciate you emotion here, but just want to quibble with a couple of things: it’s not just the ‘liberal interventionists’ who are trigger happy (though they’re certainly a despicable component); we note the dyed in the wool neocons are frothing at the mouth too. Also, it is not clear to me that it is unequivocably only AQ that populates the so-called rebels. But, after all, who knows what a real AQ guy is anymore since it’s become the all purpose boogeyman of American politics.
    As to your advising Francesco on jobs, it does take all kinds to make things work. Actually, I think he may have read quite a bit too much already.
    Quick anecdote from my years as a drug counselor, the point of which is, I think, you don’t have to have done it to be able to opine — really it takes common sense, right. Reminds me of the coke addicts who told me I couldn’t understand because I hadn’t done coke when, next breath the heroin addicts were telling me I couldn’t understand since I hadn’t done heroin. And, in fact, what we were all needing to understand was not necessarily on the immanent physical experience level, but on the human experience level.
    (btw, I’ve had more than enough experience on the ‘production’ level, so I do take your point)

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  13. Francesco Femia says:

    Drew,
    You’re not actually reading my comments. I am saying that in those particular cases, international military action was only triggered when those mass murderers attacked neighboring countries. That is true of both Hitler, as we all know, and Saddam Hussein, who launched an invasion of Kuwait. Yes they killed their own people, but the world did not act until they killed other people.
    In the cases of the former Yugoslavia, and GW’s Iraq War, the United Nations failed to sanction an intervention to halt a leaders attack against his own public. That, I assume, you understand.
    In this context, the reason the Libya intervention is a significant action in the history of state sovereignty is that it was triggered by Gaddafi attacking his own citizens, and not by Gaddafi attacking a neighboring country.
    I figured that was quite clear, and am surprised that you are not seeing it.

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  14. drew says:

    And it’s beyond puerile to assert that intervening in Libya’s civil
    war, given Libya’s role supplying oil to France and Britain, is any
    different in principle from our sending the Marines into Nicaragua
    in the 1920’s to protect American interests from it’s civil war.
    We at least knew, in Nic., who we were fighting for. In Libya we
    have no idea, other than the public pronouncements by rebel
    leaders that we are deploying arms in support of AQ. Not that they,
    if they win, will run around cutting off heads.

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  15. drew says:

    Francesco,
    You’re really not ready to be a public intellecutual. Hitler and
    Hussein attacked their own people and killed hundreds of
    thousands of them. It’s quite astonishing that you don’t know this.
    My suggestion is that you quit your job, get a real one working for
    people who produce something, and read a lot at night. Even
    better, since you advocate a robust military-interventionist posture
    by the USA: you’re not too old to serve. Go enlist, and spend some
    time with the people you would have die for Samantha Power’s next
    book.

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  16. DonS says:

    Amen, DBK.
    Shoulda known Barry would pull out the hymnal pretty soon. Can’t hurt, eh, who you gonna vote for, Huck?
    Or, next perhaps, patriotism (although I think it’s been pulled out already), which as Samuel Johnson notes is “the last refuge of a scoundrel”
    I see the pundits are now comparing the Obama (Barry to us) doctrine with the Bush doctrine. Seems like he has gotten over a hurdle and has elevated from next failed messiah to next failed political hack.

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  17. DakotabornKansan says:

    Amid Crises, President Obama Prays

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  18. Francesco Femia says:

    Don,
    Point #1 was, I believe, an assessment made by the White House, the State Department, and DoD. That does not mean it was an accurate assessment. Nonetheless, intervening in Libya was deemed less risky that intervening in a number of other places where civilians are experiencing state-sponsored violence.
    Should this turn into an utter and total mess, with more civilians dying as a result than would have likely died under Gaddafi’s victory slaughter, I will stand corrected. But as of now, I think great atrocities were averted, and Gaddafi’s time is limited.
    That aside, the action against Libya taken breaks ground in the history of state sovereignty, and in the history of humanitariansim. That is the primary point of this piece.

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  19. DonS says:

    To address only Femia’s point #1: “It was the place where the U.S. actually had the opportunity to do something, do something fast, and have a very reasonable chance of success”
    Mission creep is already underway. Provide materiale. And the advisors to make it usable. Civil war here we come.
    There’s an equally good chance of no success, only we know the US (even if it tries to remove it’s fingerprints will still be footing the bill), and the US has seemed to have this habit of late of dragging things out interminably rather than 1) stick to (or even have) a plan 2)pull out, i.e., fail.
    So do we think the MI complex, or the political slings and arrows are going to align in such a way for this to be a short, sweet Obamafest?
    Quadaffi apparently isn’t cooperating the way a former US ally should. But we should have known beforehand that he is very good at jerking our chain — with the complicity of US politicos who love apparent policy successes served up on a platter (abandonment of nuclear program, etc, etc) by some psychopath — and not be surprised he is in control.
    Another stupid, escalating military adventure cloaked in DCspeak.
    This really has nothing to do with “helping” Libya, if it is viewed from the point of view of a US going down the tubes that doesn’t seem to be able to help itself.

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  20. Francesco Femia says:

    Warren,
    I agree that in the case of “Bosnia, East Timor, Haiti, Somalia, and many other places” as you state, the United States has deployed military assets, and in some of those cases, used force, to protect civilians. Oftentimes justifiably, as I would argue.
    My statement was limited to the details of “legitimacy” in this case. In this particular intervention, which included a UNSC resolution, support from key regional institutions, like the Arab League, and relevant inter-governmental religious institutions, like the Organization of Islamic, the standard of legitimacy was raised to a new level. Personally, I would not say that such a standard always needs to be met in order to act to protect civilians, but that is the standard the President, and the UNSC, set in this case.
    Drew,
    I would, of course, have included Allied actions during WWII, or UN-sanctioned actions in the Gulf War, if they were relevant to the scope of this article. My point is that this is an unprecedented action because the Libyan government did not attack another nation. In all of the cases you mention, there was an aggressor that violated the sovereignty of another country, and that aggression triggered an internationally legitimate response. The protection of civilians within the aggressors country followed, but that mission was not the proximate cause.
    I value the long history of just interventions the U.S. and its allies have made before January 2009. But that is a subject for another piece.

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  21. Kathleen says:

    ” I fail to see why the citizens of Libya should be victims of an impossible ideal of perfect consistency.”
    Who is saying this? Obama, Clinton trying to hide behind an American myth of the US is “different” when it comes to atrocities.
    Amazing to watch and listen to our MSM Sunday talking heads address this Libya action. Bring up Syria, Bahrain, Yemen etc. But never ever never ever bring up the Palestinian decades long protest and fight for justice. They all jump right over this conflict just the way the Israeli lobby wants them to. Even the maps that Meet the PRess, CNN’s GPS, Face the Nation, Christiane Amanpours etc put up have Israel on the map but no West Bank no Gaza. All of the maps that they pop up never ever have Iraq on the map. They do not want folks to have that “massacre” stirred up in the Americans short and convenient memories.
    Gloria Borger who was sitting in for Fareed Zakaria on GPS (Sunday) led the mostly recycled WMD’s in Iraq war mongers who were on the program to discuss Libya right over to bad bad Iran. She said we are not talking about the “300 pound gorilla in the room” Iran. Led them right to what Israel and the I lobby want everyone focused on asap. Not the real “1000 pound gorilla” in the middle east discussion in our MSM…the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Silence

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  22. questions says:

    Still to be answered is whether or not we create genocide in the pursuit of the avoidance of genocide.
    Read “Appointment in Samarra” for the clearest way to communicate this point.
    Much depends on the hope that our analysts have the scene read properly. How often is this the case?

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  23. Kathleen says:

    Obama”

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  24. Francesco Femia says:

    BGGB,
    Note that at the end of the piece, I ask if the international community will act in appropriate ways to protect civilians in other places. I do not discount the need to support the people of those countries who are struggling for their rights, and being physically assaulted by their governments. However, I come back to the question: simply because the world is unwilling, or incapable, of acting everywhere, should the world NOT act where the will and/or capacity exists? I fail to see why the citizens of Libya should be victims of an impossible ideal of perfect consistency.

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  25. drew says:

    This guy is 30 years old and has never had a real job. It is absurd that we are wasting the oxygen to even read this junk. He can’t
    think his way out of a paper bag, and his enumerated “observations” are the sorts of things drunk people (provided they’ve never
    landed a 30,000 pound aircraft on a boat at night or hefted an M-4) say in bars. I’m moving on.
    http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10898766&authType=name&authToken=Z2_T&pvs=pp&trk=ppro_viewmore

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  26. Kathleen says:

    Francesco “It was the combination of ALL these factors, IMO, that contributed to the U.S. decision to intervene. That, it seems, is the criteria for intervention that President Obama has articulated. It is not R2P on steroids, nor is it dangerously close to neoconservatism, as some have argued. But rather, it is a case for interventions to protect civilians where the risks of not being successful are very low, and the benefits of being successful are very high.”
    I don’t hear any progressives or others demanding “absolute consistency” Obama could have stuck closer to what makes sense. The timing, the wave of change taking place, the international coalition’s willingness, Gaddafi’s threats. He did not have to go off into the land of bullshit “the US is different” and “we never turn a blind eye to humanitarian crisis” Thisi s absolute and I very seldom say “absolute” bull. During his administration Obama, Clinton turned a “blind eye” to the “massacre…slaughter” (using their words) in the Gaza. Basically they gave the Israeli’s their blessings for that “massacre” Drones killing innnocents.
    Now while Obama had nothing to do with that massive pile of dead bodies over in Iraq that no one likes to count or really talk about Hillary Clinton and all of those who voted for that 2002 Iraq war resolution are partially responsible for that “massacre”(lets just use their words). We all know that Bush, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith far more responsible but too many Dems went along.
    Obama did not have to attempt to build that flimsy myth about the US

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  27. BGGB says:

    It seems Mr. Femia failed to note that this “human progress” only occurs if the target is a long-time enemy, such as Gaddafi.
    The people of Bahrain understand this ugly truth, even if Mr. Femia does not.

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  28. jonst says:

    Things are much, much, more murky and unknowable, and susceptible to manipulation, by highly paid, and skills PR firms and lying statesmen2sped such. Never mind the sheer complexity of it all.
    You got a situation as clear as your life guard and drowning swimmer one, and you give me call, we’ll go for intervention. Until then……forget it. And by the way, Richard Cohen wrote a column using the drowning swimmer. Only he had the lifeguard failing to go to the rescue because of concern about ripping his “20 Dollar Target bathing suit”. Which glaringly shows what he thinks of US military personal. You should have up with a different role model. In general, if you are using Cohen speak you are in trouble. To tell you truth….you seem a bit inexperienced in your vision of the world to me.

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  29. Francesco Femia says:

    Glad to get some push back on this! It’s why I like this place.
    To DakotabornKansan (and anyone else who’s interested),
    The question about consistency is perfectly fair, and is a question I pose at the end of this sparse piece. But the insistence on absolute consistency by many is something that I find quite puzzling:
    In my humble opinion, it’s like saying to a life guard: How dare you save that child in front of you from drowning! There are children in other places, hundreds of miles away, flailing and possibly drowning too!
    The truth, in this case, and if I read the President’s remarks correctly, is that Libya met the following conditions:
    1. It was the place where the U.S. actually had the opportunity to do something, do something fast, and have a very reasonable chance of success
    2. Building off the first point, the chances of success were strengthened by the support, in terms of both legitimacy and hard assets, of a very broad cross-section of the international community. The UNSC, the Arab League and the OIC. This meant that the action could both be executed with all the possible assets needed to make it successful, and also executed in a way that would stave off bitterness and backlash in the Arab world in the long term. In short, the risks, both short term and long term, are less in Libya than they are elsewhere. Not the height of altruism, but still better than nothing.
    3. The scale and brutality of the attacks committed by Gaddafi, beginning with using warplanes against peaceful demonstrators, and culminating with a promise to slaughter the citizens of Benghazi, was greater than the scale and brutality of government attacks on people in those other places.
    4. In the context of the Arab spring, the potential ramifications of a resounding Gaddafi victory over the opposition were deemed unacceptable.
    5. Key European allies, with key assets, political will, and with reasons for intervention perhaps more complex than the U.S., were ready to play a key role in the mission.
    It was the combination of ALL these factors, IMO, that contributed to the U.S. decision to intervene. That, it seems, is the criteria for intervention that President Obama has articulated. It is not R2P on steroids, nor is it dangerously close to neoconservatism, as some have argued. But rather, it is a case for interventions to protect civilians where the risks of not being successful are very low, and the benefits of being successful are very high.

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  30. Kathleen says:

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is on special assignment in Israel. This was announced the other night by Chuck Todd who is sitting in for Chris on Hardball. At first I was excited that Matthews may be breaking the silence barrier on MSNBC and other MSM outlets on what is really going on over there. Some of us have been pushing Chris and others to move on this criitical issue since the internet has really opened up the issue to real debate based on real facts. Although some so called progressive blogs have real blog clogs on this issue. Crooks and Liars closed down. Jane Hamsher and her moderator Rayne over at Firedoglake ran the topic off of that blog. So much for open debate.
    Anyway have been thinking about Chris Matthews recent history of even mentioning this conflict. He did not touch the Goldstone Report. Not even a whisper. Along with Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman etc

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  31. Kathleen says:

    If Obama would have stayed focused on the wave of change in Tunisia, Egypt etc taking place and how the historically brutal Gaddafi could seriously stand in the way of the change that makes sense. With the addition of Gaddafi’s violent rants that added more reason for the actions. But when Obama started fluffing up the American myths that the US is “different” when it comes to humanitarian crisis he went over the cliff. Only the US is number one folks buy this hooey. When he went onto say that the US does not turn a “blind eye” to brutality I almost choked. Just bullshit. President “drone” Obama has killed many innocent people. OBama/Clinton ignored the “slaughter…massacre” of the Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza. Ignored it.
    Secretary of State Clinton has her fingerprints all over the hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq.
    Stick with the it makes sense now line of thinking. International coalition etc. Obama’s willingness to fuel American myths was just too much.

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  32. erichwwk says:

    I am grateful that so many comments have two feet grounded in reality, even when the post itself does not.
    Once I skipped many of the comments as unsubstantiated ranting, and was thankful for the thoughtfulness in the posts.
    Now, sadly, I often find the reverse is true.
    Thank you Paul Nordheim, Don Bacon, JohnH, et al.

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  33. Don Bacon says:

    “The United States will only gain such cooperation and support if it exercises power and influence in a manner that is widely perceived as legitimate.”
    Obama: “America is acting in concert with the Arab League, the United Nations and NATO, not striking out unilaterally.”
    *Arab League — Escobar describes nine of twenty-two nations ramrodded by Saudi Arabia (the Bahrain enforcer) agreeing only to a no-fly zone, but not contributing (except Qatar with its new Libya oil contract).
    * United Nations — Two other major nations supported this war, UK and France, with the latter being the primary promoter for political reasons. No other major nation supported the Libya War and many have spoken against it including Germany, China, Russia and India.
    * NATO — France and UK, fellow colonial powers, promoted the war, dragging the U.S. into war against Libya, a close ally of the U.S. until just recently.

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  34. Don Bacon says:

    Francesco Femia is Program Director at the Connect U.S. Fund
    from The Connect U.S. Fund website:
    . . .The United States will only gain such cooperation and support if it exercises power and influence in a manner that is widely perceived as legitimate, and that clearly demonstrates foresight and responsibility to future generations. This approach embodies principles that have marked U.S. foreign policy at its most effective.

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  35. JohnH says:

    The 100,000 figure cited by Femia was lifted right out of the Kosovo propaganda play book. (Kosovo was the liberal interventionists greatest success!) When a post-mortem was done in Kosovo, they found that 13,000 had been killed over 5 years.
    Of course, there will be no post-mortem in Iraq or Afghanistan, because the US is so indifferent to human casualties that it could care less. Also, the figures would belie the notion of US “humanitarian” interventions.
    No post-mortem analysis of casualties cause by US bombing will be done in Libya, either.

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  36. jonst says:

    Drew,
    You said it better than I did. This kind of thinking infuriates me. It is turning us, we are turning ourselves, into an endless ATM of blood and bone.
    I say go into the VA hospitals and see what is going on. I say look into the amount of service personal in some kind of anti depressant. Look into the increase in suicides. And please spare me the reenlistment rates. What the hell else is out here for work now?
    Then head on over to the local nursing homes. And see the impact of cuts in funding. Go to the food kitchens around here. Listen to the stories of fellow American caught up in the mortgage foreclosure machine. Talk showing no mercy on your people.
    There is gonna be a revolution in THIS country if this shit keeps on going this way. 550 million plus, in a week, spent without Congressional Authorization. If I may be so base to point out the cost of ‘doing good’

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  37. Don Bacon says:

    Ivory Coast (1) is of no interest to Sarkozy* and (2) its claims to off-shore oil vs. Ghana are tenuous.
    *The French tail wagged the U.S. dog on Libya. Call it Responsibility to Aid Sarkozy’s Strategy (R-ASS).

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  38. DonS says:

    Francesco who? And why is he getting prime space at TWN.
    How many fatuous idealogues or whichever stripe and political slant do we have to put up with on this road to hell paved with good, or at least well paying, intentions?
    Don’t really have the patience right now to more fully address this wrong, time, wrong place, wrong argument tripe. It is so stupid beyond belief when we know, just as certainly that, had the big boys with the big guns decided not to intervene, it would not have happened, and it will not happen a hundred times more because the UN is a crippled organization; and this one coincidence of occurrences conveniently read by Francesco Femia says more about his inability to connect with planet earth than it does about some new age dawning in international behavior.
    Really wonder why Steve would subject us to this except to satisfy perverse tendency, or drag some red herring out.
    Now let’s talk about the myriad of places where human beings are really getting slaughtered with nary a whimper, or should we say with implicit instructions from the powers that be to STFU.

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  39. DakotabornKansan says:

    If Libya, Why Not Cote D

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  40. Don Bacon says:

    Baloney. Gaddafi never threatened to slaughter over 100,000 people. That’s ridiculous. He threatened the insurgent ringleaders as any national leader would do. There have been revolts against Gaddafi in Libya before — this is not the first.
    “Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.” — George Orwell
    There are procedural steps required before the UN can authorize an attack on a country and they were not followed.
    Marjorie Cohn —
    Chapter VI of the Charter requires parties to a dispute likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security to

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  41. Cee says:

    I forgot to add that a few weeks ago I said I was glad to see Samantha Power back. I change my mind if this is the advice she is giving the president.

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  42. Cee says:

    I’m sick of the lies.
    Our responsibility is make sure that our leadership doesn’t create problems so that they can rush in with a military solution that WE PAY FOR!!
    Go back and examine what really happened in Yugoslavia. Same with Rwanda.
    Between 1980-1990, Paul Kagame was the Ugandan rebel leader Museveni

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  43. Paul Norheim says:

    “Following the brutal massacres committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s, the world
    asked itself — at what point is it our responsibility to stop the slaughter of innocent people?”
    With all due respect, Francesco Femia: If you had compared the initial scenario in Libya with Bahrain, Yemen,
    Syria, or Gaza, then fine. These examples are somehow comparable in proportions, despite the contextual
    differences. But the next time I hear the situation in Libya compared to Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia,
    Congo, or Darfur, I’m afraid I’ll puke in disgust. The latter examples are on an entirely different scale
    compared to Libya; and it is highly regrettable that the honorable R2P principle was first applied to a conflict
    where, despite Gaddafi’s rhetorics, the humanitarian situation is far less serious than in those extreme
    example that called for the creation of the R2P principle.
    The national interests of several European countries aside, you may argue that the intervention was
    necessary to send a loud warning signal to certain autocrats against brutal crackdowns in the future in the
    ongoing revolutions in the MENA countries (prevention), or to signal a support for the Arab revolution and
    the demand for democracy – in ADDITION to protecting civilians. I am sure there are genuine human
    concerns among people supporting the vote. But referring to the newly established R2P principle is an abuse
    of that principle, and for entirely different reasons; and people will realize this.
    So please explain to me, Francesco Femia, what will happen if a real genocide occurs, weeks or months from
    now, in, say Syria or Lebanon – and the world won’t listen, because they think this is nothing but propaganda
    on the same level as about that Libyan “genocide” a couple of weeks ago, when the “international
    community” interfered in a messy civil war?
    Will the American and European tax payers be willing to support an intervention to avoid a new Rwanda, now
    a genuine one, in some Middle East or African country, if they suspect this to be just a “new Libya” scenario,
    involving us in another messy conflict with an uncertain outcome for heaven knows which sinister motives?
    This is serious stuff, morally spoken. I am very much in favor of the R2P principle. But the bar has to be set
    very high to avoid abuse of that principle due to non-humanitarian motives.

    Reply

  44. JohnH says:

    Francesco Femia is either a paid propagandist or a naive dupe. Before commenting on US intentions in Libya, he should look at Afghanistan and Iraq and pose the same question: “Will the international community prevent mass atrocities?”
    Heck, the “international community” is so callous to civilian casualties, they don’t even bother to count the people they kill. Yet Femia would have use believe that the “international community” is somehow going to behave differently in Libya! To which I say, send me the recipe for the Kool Aid he’s drinking.

    Reply

  45. DakotabornKansan says:

    Question worth asking about Libyan intervention
    Juan Cole is one of the left’s leading advocates of American involvement in the war in Libya.
    Question for Juan Cole by Glenn Greenwald
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/
    Does Cole

    Reply

  46. drew says:

    The faddish arrogance, and intellectual flimsiness, of this posting
    turns my stomach. I understand how it’s probably good for his
    career to this week fawn all over Samantha Power. It is
    astonishing that people who think this poorly can make a living.
    First of all, 20 million American soldiers from WWII would
    disagree.
    Second of all, this Femia seems to think that Saddam gassing his
    own people, and murdering them with ordnance from gunships,
    both numbers rising into the hundreds of thousands, is outside
    his argument. It would indicate that his sense of history begins
    in January 2009.
    Third, another of these rickety, counterfactual arguments (“lives
    not taken by people not known”)? Is this a parlor game now in
    DC? How to claim success for things not measurable because
    they do not exist and therefore cannot be observed?
    Fourth, Femia aligns himself with al-Qaeda, those peace-loving,
    decapitating, random violence propagating murderers. When the
    USA begins to arm the Libyan rebels (they’re getting routed
    today, and now our sage R2P investors want to arm them, which
    means sending American humans into a logistical supply and
    direct advisory role) I suggest he volunteer to jump first out the
    back of the C-130, and show us all how to save the world. The
    absurdity here is that to serve the R2P meme and its proponents’
    ambition, we are actually rebranding al-Qaeda as freedom
    fighters, Assad as a reformer.
    But generally, all he’s really saying is he wants to join the R2P
    party (as a sheltered NGO flack, of course, not as a SOF NCO
    trying to figure out who the good guys are), and thank goodness
    someone else will do the fighting, paying, and dying.
    jonst is so right: it’s really time to start ignoring all of these
    steroidal liberal hawks, in love with arbitrary USM deployments
    on behalf of their non-governmental dreams, dismissive of
    democracy, and contemptuous of anyone who might say, “Who
    are we fighting, to what end, who’s paying for it, and for how
    long?”
    The fellow who owns this blog admires Chuck Hagel. I would
    dearly love to see Chuck Hagel’s physical and verbal response to
    this nonsense.

    Reply

  47. Warren Metzler says:

    “For the first time in history, the international community collectively decided to use legitimate force to stop a leader from committing mass atrocities against his own people.”
    I have to disagree about this. We intervened in Bosnia, East Timor, Haiti, Somalia, and many other places. In Libya, we may have intervened earlier than in most, and with much more timely action than most, but I suggest that all wars are either aggressive or an attempt to stop a dictator from continuing to wreak havoc. Wasn’t wwii, for example, us intervening to stop Hitler, Italy and the Japanese from raining havoc on humans. And what difference does it make if those humans are of the same ethnic and cultural group as the marauding illicit ruler, or of a different ethnic and cultural group? Our revulsion for such actions is our revulsion regarding any oppressive behavior.
    I propose that all humans have an internal, hardwired (incapable of acting otherwise; or, more accurately, incapable of not being oriented in that direction), motivation to become what each person inwardly senses is her full potential.
    Unfortunately all humans also have an internal corruption, that allows each human to create a distorted, quite inaccurate view, of how that person actually operates. So many a country has a political and cultural system that actively works against most of its residents achieving their individual potentials, and actively works toward forcing all the residents of that country to acquiesce to the desires of a few; even though the governments of most such countries rarely admit this. Examples of the latter being a number of the former communistic countries, and many third world countries.
    In the West, those countries who have appeared to have supported individuals pursuing their individual motivations quite unfortunately have governments which tend to be captivated by certain businesses, which offer very large bribes to the leaders of those countries (such as providing them with directorships and a multitude of large speaking fees after they retire from government) to do their biding. And so much of the foreign policy of those countries is very oppressive to the citizens of many an underdeveloped country.
    I suggest that it would be very reasonable for the world to agree that it is only acceptable to have a government which is democratic (multi-party, holding free elections in which any citizen can run for office), allows every person to work and live in the manner they choose (as long as their actions don’t harm others), and has no laws which favor one ethnic, or religious, or cultural group over another.
    And for the UN to then actively condemn all governments that do not operate in this manner, and actively intervene any time a government deprives any one part of its population from the rights described in the previous paragraph; that intervention being vigorous protests in the beginning, moving to sanctions and freezing funds when protests produce no change, and finally military intervention when sanctions and freezing funds don’t produce change.
    I realize, of course, that this would require consistency and integrity in government officials, two behavioral traits sorely lacking in almost all politicians. But so be it. I claim that until we have universal acceptance of what is proper forms of governance, we will never have consistency and reasonableness of international actions.

    Reply

  48. jonst says:

    This sounds like recipe for endless war, after fig leaf, Col Powell, type debates in the UN. And this war, for the most part, will be fought by a relatively (albeit, perhaps willing)tiny statistical slice of Americans. While the intellectuals who will debate in the UN, and who will legally slice and dice who is a tyrant, who showing his people no mercy, at a given moment, and what have you, make damn sure, that, for the most part, they sit on the sidelines of these wars. And more importantly, that their children sit on the sidelines.
    And to boot, as just spice to the recipe….the same people don’t want to pay for the wars. No tax increases.

    Reply

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