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Syria Reveals The Moral Bankruptcy Of Obama’s Humanitarian Interventionism Doctrine

When President Obama spoke to the nation from the National Defense University last month about the then week long war in Libya, he said the following:

There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are.  Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and our common security — responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce.  These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us.  They’re problems worth solving.  And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.

In such cases, we should not be afraid to act — but the burden of action should not be America’s alone.  As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action.  Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves.  Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.

With specific regard to Libya, the President claimed that an imminent humanitarian crisis justified international intervention:

Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Gaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences.  Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.

At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice.  Gaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people.  He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment.  In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day.  Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city.  We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen.  I refused to let that happen.  And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

All of this provides an interesting contrast for the manner in which the United States, and the rest of the West, is reacting to the ongoing situation in Syria:

FOR THE PAST five weeks, growing numbers of Syrians have been gathering in cities and towns across the country to demand political freedom — and the security forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad have been responding by opening fire on them. According to Syrian human rights groups, more than 220 people had been killed by Friday. And Friday may have been the worst day yet: According to Western news organizations, which mostly have had to gather information from outside the country, at least 75 people were gunned down in places that included the suburbs of Damascus, the city of Homs and a village near the southern town of Daraa, where the protests began.

(…)

The administration has sat on its hands despite the fact that the Assad regime is one of the most implacable U.S. adversaries in the Middle East. It is Iran’s closest ally; it supplies Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip for use against Israel. Since 2003 it has helped thousands of jihadists from across the Arab world travel to Iraq to attack American soldiers. It sought to build a secret nuclear reactor with the help of North Korea and destabilized the pro-Western government of neighboring Lebanon by sponsoring a series of assassinations.

(…)

Yet the Obama administration has effectively sided with the regime against the protesters. Rather than repudiate Mr. Assad and take tangible steps to weaken his regime, it has proposed, with increasing implausibility, that his government “implement meaningful reforms,” as the president’s latest statement put it. As The Post’s Karen DeYoung and Scott Wilson reported Friday, the administration, which made the “engagement” of Syria a key part of its Middle East policy, still clings to the belief that Mr. Assad could be part of a Middle East peace process; and it would rather not trade “a known quantity in Assad for an unknown future.”

Just today, the Syrian Army moved heavily on the city of Dara, which has been the center of much of the most recent protests. And yet, where is the Administration on this one? Where are Samantha Powers, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton, the triumvirate of femininity that led us into war in Libya? Well Rice and Powers have been pretty silent, but Secretary of State Clinton has said, even in the face of the recent violence, that Bashar Assad is a “reformer.” Additionally, she’s differentiated the crackdown in Syria from the one in Libya by pointing out, helpfully for future dictators, that Assad isn’t bombing his citizens like Qaddaffi was prior to the United Nations intervention.

This is, of course, blatant hypocrisy. If a humanitarian crisis created by government crackdowns against a civilian uprising is justification for international intervention in Libya, then why doesn’t the same apply to Syria? Are Syrians worth less than Libyans? Where’s the “humanitarianism” in that?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for military intervention in Syria. Given the facts on the ground, involving ourselves in Syrian affairs would, if possible, be even dumber than involving ourselves in the internal affairs of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya was. Nonetheless, this episode does provide a perfect opportunity to point out something that Jazz Shaw noted back in March, that the entire humanitarian argument that the President used to justify war in Libya is nothing more than hypocrisy:

The fact is that for all our talk about the sacred value and dignity of every human life, we actually assign very different levels of value to those lives depending entirely upon how much political capital each group represents. Further, an even larger consideration seems to be who is doing the actual oppressing and what they might mean to our own interests. We seem to have broken all of humanity down into three basic categories based on that assumption.

  • First there are the people who simply don’t merit the kind of political capital needed to send American forces to war. Some of the best and most oft cited examples of these are residents of the nations in sub-Saharan Africa. If you stacked up the number of bodies that Gaddafi has generated in Libya recently and compared them to the dead, raped, assaulted and displaced scored by the Janjaweed against the non-Arab Muslim Fur and Zaghawa in the Sudan or the Tutsi against the Hutu in Rwanda, Libya wouldn’t amount to much more than a street scuffle following a soccer match in Scotland. And yet you don’t see F-15s patrolling the southern African skies, do you? Oh, sure… you’ll hear US presidents and other world leaders mouthing plaintive wails about how terrible it all is, but the fact is that those people simply aren’t worth enough to us to invoke our “responsibility” to “protect” them.
  • Second there are the people who might represent a great amount of political capital, but are currently under the thumb of international powers that we frankly don’t have the stomach to mess with. I’d wager you could find plenty of politicos who would have loved to see us take a much more aggressive stance in defense of the people of Georgia. But that would mean poking a stick at the Russian Bear, and they’ve still got all of those loose nukes lying about. Tales abound of the horrific treatment of the people of Tibet, so you’d think we might have some “responsibility to protect” them, eh? But then you’re messing around with China, who is not only a major military force today with the ability to summon up an army with more men than we have bullets, but is also holding on to the checkbook from our last two decade shopping spree.
  • The final category is the people who are in a part of the world we find to be “interesting” enough to stir us to action but are not facing a government which is widely popular or powerful enough to threaten us. Libya falls into this category because of their central location in an oil rich region of geopolitical import, combined with the fact that their leader is nearly as despised on the Arab Street as he is in the Western world. So it should come as no surprise that our military is currently occupying its time there.

Libya fell into that last category both because Qaddaffi had no friends left who would back him up, and because it was an easy target. Syria? Not so much. They’ve got friends in Iran, Russia, and China and they control Lebanon, the home of Hezbollah. We’re not going to intervene there both because the mission would be far more extensive than anyone is willing to undertake, and because the risks of failure, blowback, and adverse consequences are far greater there than they are in Libya. That’s also why we’ll never intervene in Georgia, or Chechnya, or Tibet.  And we’re not going to invest a lot of resources in response to a humanitarian crisis in a place like Rwanda or Sudan because, frankly, it’s not worth our time or resources.

So, what we’ve really got here is an entirely incoherent foreign policy and a world who thinks that we’re going to intervene the next time there’s a humanitarian crisis somewhere. Boy are they going to be unpleasantly surprised.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    This is, of course, blatant hypocrisy. If a humanitarian crisis created by government crackdowns against a civilian uprising is justification for international intervention in Libya, then why doesn’t the same apply to Syria? Are Syrians worth less than Libyans? Where’s the “humanitarianism” in that?

    It’s this sort of intellectual laziness that results in your clinging to a politics of the freshman dorm.

    I believe it’s a good thing to step in if I see a woman being abused. Twice in my life I did, because I judged the risks manageable.

    Once I didn’t, because I thought the risks unmanageable.

    By your reasoning I’m a hypocrite.

    By my reasoning you need more work on reasoning.

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  2. It’s Rice/Powers/Clinton who have the foreign policy that belongs in a freshman dorm, precisely because it does not recognize what you yourself point out, that there are times when it is advisable to take action and others when it is not. And yet they cling to the illusion that they have discovered some new moralistic foreign policy

    In the end, this is just further proof that the only foreign policy that makes sense is realpolitik. Our national interest should be our only concern.

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  3. Another factor may be the willingness of our allies to go in with us. For example, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, an extremely broad coalition of countries was willing to remove him. Our European allies are naturally more sensitive to unrest in nearby Libya than unrest in more distant Syria.

    Oh yeah…the oil argument also.

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  4. john personna says:

    It is painfully ironic that foes of this “Obama Doctrine” are also the only ones who want to say it exists.

    You’d actually “depower” it more by recognizing that it isn’t there. Libya is about supporting allies in THEIR crazed plan.

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  5. john personna says:

    Oh! Doubly ironic, it is both made-up and NOT what you say it is:

    The Obama Doctrine is a term frequently used to describe one or several unifying principles of the foreign policy of Barack Obama. Unlike the Monroe Doctrine, the Obama Doctrine is not a specific foreign policy introduced by the executive, but rather a phrase used to describe Obama’s general style of foreign policy. This has left journalists and political commentators to speculate on what the exact tenets of an Obama Doctrine might look like. Generally speaking, it is accepted that a central part of such a doctrine would be negotiation and collaboration over confrontation and unilateralism in international affairs. This policy has been praised by some as a welcome change from the more interventionist Bush Doctrine.[1] Critics, such as former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, have described it as overly idealistic and naïve, promoting appeasement with the country’s enemies.[2] Others have drawn attention to its radical departure from not only the policies of the Bush administration but many former presidents as well.[3][2] Meanwhile, additional political pundits have disagreed entirely, accusing Obama of continuing the policies of his predecessor.

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  6. So the justification he came up with for intervening in Libya was just words, just speeches……

    Either those words meant something, or they didn’t In either case, this Administration’s foreign policy is atrociously naive and far too similar to its predecessors.

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  7. Vast Variety says:

    While I completely agree that we should have never gotten involved in Libya and that the excuse of humanitarian aid is a farce, however, there are significant differences between Libya and Syria and what is going on in both countries. Also, there is more than likely more to the reason why we did intervene in Libya than what we are being told. You also have to remember that we were basically dragged into Libya by Britain and France who were going to go into Libya with or without us.

    There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” foreign policy. That doesn’t mean that it’s incoherent or hypocritical.

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  8. john personna says:

    So the justification he came up with for intervening in Libya was just words, just speeches……

    Either those words meant something, or they didn’t In either case, this Administration’s foreign policy is atrociously naive and far too similar to its predecessors.

    Are you picking and choosing? I seem to remember words in there about supporting our allies.

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  9. john personna says:

    (But yes, politicians sometimes talk the BS. Film at 11.)

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  10. Vast Variety says:

    “Either those words meant something, or they didn’t In either case, this Administration’s foreign policy is atrociously naive and far too similar to its predecessors.”

    Did you really expect the foreign policy of the US to change that drastically when Obama was elected? I know he campaigned on a promise of change but he certainly didn’t promise to take us into fantasy land. 60 years of foreign policy precedent isn’t going to change in the course of 1 presidency. The same holds true for our fiscal and domestic policy.

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  11. Boyd says:

    I’m confused, Doug. I can’t tell if you’re complaining about the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, or the words they use to describe the policy. Or are you saying it’s the words they use that make the policy hypocritical?

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  12. I doubt the seriousness who try to wrap their decisions in the cloak of moral justification

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  13. michael reynolds says:

    precisely because it does not recognize what you yourself point out, that there are times when it is advisable to take action and others when it is not.

    No, Doug, in fact Obama said almost exactly that in his speech on Libya. Look it up.

    In the end, this is just further proof that the only foreign policy that makes sense is realpolitik.

    No, Doug, it does no such thing. It proves nothing. And you haven’t made any sort of case except to demonstrate that sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it’s no. Which is how reality is, speaking of realpolitik. Do you expect a world where the answer is always yes or always no? Seriously?

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  14. … particularly when the moral justifications are so, how should I say it, flexible.

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  15. john personna says:

    I doubt the seriousness who try to wrap their decisions in the cloak of moral justification

    I’m pretty sure Chiefs have been doing it as long as there have been Tribes.

    Citing the puffery is fine, but I think asserting a Doctrine goes too far, and might ultimately be counterproductive.

    We don’t want the kind of Doctrine you proposed, do we?

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  16. michael reynolds says:

    I doubt the seriousness who try to wrap their decisions in the cloak of moral justification.

    Out of curiosity, have you read the Declaration of Independence? It’s one long moral justification.

    How about the Constitution? Does the preamble strike you as a morally neutral paragraph?

    Morality is not an opt-in situation, you can’t check the box next to, “No, I’d prefer not to be judged.” Even if you’re a square-jawed, hard-eyed, realpolitik-lovin’ tough guy libertarian, you can’t somehow avoid questions of right and wrong.

    Things which seem realpolitik to you are nevertheless imbued with morality. They rest on assumptions (usually unexamined) which are themselves moral statements. This is one of the many reasons wiser people equate libertarianism with adolescence.

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  17. John,

    The only doctrine I want is what is in the vital national interests of the United States?

    All else is irrelevant

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  18. steve says:

    Did you read Obama’s speech Doug? I am unaware of the following things happening in re to Syria. Is there a broad group of other countries asking that we intervene in Syria? Have our allies Britain and France made a request? Have other Arab countries asked that we intervene and offered to participate? Libyan refugees would have gone to Egypt or Tunisia, both countries with recent troubles. Where would Syrian refugees go? Libya is a large country with widely separated cities, more amenable to airpower intervention than many other countries. Does the geography of Syria offer the same advantages? Lastly, how many places would you like for us to be involved in? Is all or none a viable policy, or are there shades of gray?

    Steve

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  19. michael reynolds says:

    The only doctrine I want is what is in the vital national interests of the United States?

    All else is irrelevant

    That’s a personal emotional need. You need simplicity because you need the world to be binary. You don’t like nuance or shades of gray. It’s of course of a piece with your political philosophy. “Don’t bother me with details.”

    The problem is that moral concerns are not the white to realpolitik’s black. Some of the power of the United States rests on the belief of other nations and their peoples that we are, on balance, moral. Morality is realpolitik.

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  20. Steve

    So what you’re saying is that our allies are as hypocritical as we are? Shocking.

    Let’s face it we went after Libya because it was an easy target and it has oil. Syria doesn’t fit either of those criteria,.

    These pronouncements about protecting civilians are window dressing.

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  21. steve says:

    “So what you’re saying is that our allies are as hypocritical as we are?”

    I notice you avoid answering the questions. Britain and France had their own motivations. As an ally, and one who has received a lot of support from them in Afghanistan it was not surprising that we agreed to help. It also helped that other Arab countries were willing to participate. What you now seem to want, in order to avoid being called hypocritical, is for us to unilaterally intervene. You want us to intervene in a place where I think airpower is less likely to be of as much import. The immediately surrounding countries have not just undergone their own revolutions.

    I think foreign policy should be prudent. While I dont think we had enough national interest at stake to merit our involvement in Libya, perhaps our commitments to allies were enough that we needed to participate. In Syria, we have a lack of national interest at stake and no commitment to an alliance that pushes us to become involved. That is not hypocritical in my book, just an assessment that that we have little need to be involved.

    Steve

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  22. Davebo says:

    Can we finally dispense the idea that Doug is a Libertarian?

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=DOUG+MATACONIS+torture

    He’s a Republican who’s ashamed of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, nothing more.

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  23. ponce says:

    “You need simplicity because you need the world to be binary. You don’t like nuance or shades of gray. ”

    In other words, Doug has Aspergers.

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  24. Wiley Stoner says:

    How can anyone take seriously anything Mikey Reynold has to say? Just look at his picture. He is a hypocrite not because of anything he writes here particularly. Fact is, if Bush were the President in charge of the Libya situation, he woud be howling protests about the illegality of such acts. Fact is, Bush had the authorization of Congress to remove Saddam, who by the way had already killed many times more of his own people than Kaddafi. Mikey, you defend the illegal action of this President and lie about the wrongness of what Bush did, when he just carried out the policy signed by the previous adminsitration. You are a hypocrite because you are all brown nose when Doug is disparageing the GOP but attack him personally when he shines a light on the faults of your BO. Doug is no Republican. Count the number of posts highligting the faults of this administration as opposed to those who oppose it. Reynold, do the world a favor. Take that hideous picture down. My children have accest to this computer and they could be subject to nightmares.

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    Wiley:

    I strongly supported Bush the Elder in Kuwait. I was for it before he was.

    I strongly supported Bush the Younger in Afghanistan.

    And I supported — with somewhat less enthusiasm — the invasion of Iraq.

    Far from being a peacenik, I was actually calling for a larger deployment and a harder, more thorough and transformative occupation. I never complained that any of the above were illegal. I’m actually much closer to the neocons than the pacifists.

    Which would make you 100% wrong about me. Shock. Amazement.

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  26. michael reynolds says:

    Wiley:

    By the way, it was getting to be about time to put up a new avatar. But just for you: I’m keeping old bug eyes.

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  27. G.A.Phillips says:

    Obama kinda tried and……and then he kinda dint….cause he sucks……

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  28. Joe R. says:

    It’s this sort of intellectual laziness that results in your clinging to a politics of the freshman dorm.

    I believe it’s a good thing to step in if I see a woman being abused. Twice in my life I did, because I judged the risks manageable.

    Once I didn’t, because I thought the risks unmanageable.

    By your reasoning I’m a hypocrite.

    By my reasoning you need more work on reasoning.

    Thank you for saying what our intervention policy is, and what I wish that someone in Washington would admit: we should only intervene when it’s easy.

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  29. michael reynolds says:

    Joe R:

    I don’t know that it’s ever easy. In my case I came moderately close to getting my ass kicked. (I’m not a brawler but I am big and sometimes that’s all it takes. Also it turned out my front door was pretty strong.)

    But of course in foreign policy you have to weight risks and rewards. There’s a reason we don’t go looking for trouble with North Korea, to pick the obvious example.

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  30. ponce says:

    “we should only intervene when it’s easy.”

    Actually, America does best when it intervenes when the fight is almost over.

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  31. ratufa says:

    I suspect that several factors may have played a role in our deciding to intervene in Libya: a quid pro quo for our allies, the desire to have a reliable client in Libya, instead of the loose-cannon Gaddafi, not wanting to stand by looking weak (both wrt domestic politics and internationally) while Gaddafi crushed the rebels, a perceived need to throw a sop to the pro-Democracy folks since we knew we were going to let protesters in Bahrain get crushed, underestimating the difficulty of the task, and so on.

    Obama alluded to some of these things in his public justifications for the invasion, and of course he played up the humanitarian angle.

    The idea that we’re being hypocritical because we aren’t also invading Syria is silly, like much of the “Why aren’t we treating X like Y?” foreign policy bleating one hears from both sides of the political spectrum. That complaint usually only makes sense if you’re just considering one dimension, like humanitarian considerations, instead of looking at all the other ways in which circumstances may differ. Libya is not Syria, and there are are arguments for why one might want to treat them as different cases. For example:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/21/syriana

    Now if your argument as just that we are being hypocritical because the US talks a big game about human rights and democracy and frequently/usually/pretty much always acts in ways that reflect sordid self-interest and politics, well sure. I hope you haven’t just noticed this. As another blogger put it:

    http://whoisioz.blogspot.com/2011/04/project-monarch.html

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  32. Wiley Stoner says:

    Ponce, you mean like in WWII? Or were you thinking of when Saddam had invaded Kuwait and the fight was over? I guess you are once again getting your facts out of your rear.

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  33. Wiley Stoner says:

    How come code pink is not howling about the illegal act this President is committing by making war on Libya without authorization from Congress? I guess Obama had super secret information Kaddafi intended to send three devout believers to personally attack the United States. Your excusing Obama for this act is beyond reason. I seldom agree with Doug, put you cannot have it both ways. If Bush was wrong and should have been impeached for carring out the authority given him by congress, why is it OK for Obama to make war without congressional authority? Liberalism will be recognized in the DSM V.

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  34. TG Chicago says:

    I realized a month or so ago that “Dodd” has to be a parody sock-puppet that the OTBers use when they want to put up something in the voice of a rabid right-winger who digests conservative media all day.

    I only just now realized that “Doug Mataconis” is the libertarian parody sock-puppet. “Doug Mataconis” = “A Dogmatic Onus”. Very clever, Mr. Joyner!

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  35. ponce says:

    “Ponce, you mean like in WWII?”

    Both WWI and WWII, Wiley.

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  36. Fog says:

    I think a lot of what we do now is influenced by what we DIDN’T do in Basra under Bush I.

    And Michael, I’m old and I wear cargo shorts. I need the extra pockets for my glasses. It’s either cargo shorts or a fanny pack.

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  37. Eric Florack says:

    It is painfully ironic that foes of this “Obama Doctrine” are also the only ones who want to say it exists.

    A tacit admission that Obama has no policy at all?
    Or at least that the policy is not what Obama’s been telling us it was?

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  38. […] process; and it would rather not trade “a known quantity in Assad for an unknown future.” (from Outside the Beltway)The regimes that the Obama Administration continually chooses to support over our closest Allies […]

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  39. Rick DeMent says:

    The only doctrine I want is what is in the vital national interests of the United States?

    All else is irrelevant

    … and what about the free flow of oil at market prices is not in the nation interests of the United States?

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  40. Rick DeMent says:

    and where were you all during the Bush administration with the humanitarian argument was being thrown around like water. … Don’t you remember the rape rooms?

    “The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don’t have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over.”—Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

    “Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.”—President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

    “There was an announcement by the Iraqi Governing Council earlier this week about the tribunal that they have set up to hold accountable members of the former regime who were responsible for three decades of brutality and atrocities. … We know about the mass graves and the rape rooms and the torture chambers of Saddam Hussein’s regime. … We welcome their decision to move forward on a tribunal to hold people accountable for those atrocities.”—Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan, White House press briefing, Dec. 10, 2003

    “One thing is for certain: There won’t be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms.”—Bush, press availability in Monterrey, Mexico, Jan. 12, 2004

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  41. Steve Verdon says:

    Doug wrote:
    Let’s face it we went after Libya because it was an easy target and it has oil. Syria doesn’t fit either of those criteria,.

    And he gets called various names.

    Many liberals wrote, screeched, whined, etc.,:
    Let’s face it we went after Iraq because it was an easy target and it has oil.

    And this was okay with the people calling Doug’s names (Reynolds excepted who was pro-Afghanistan/Iraq and Libya military actions).

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  42. john personna says:

    I can’t believe that oil is a primary motivator. Why? A policy planner would have to be a complete imbecile to think this would ease oil for a decade, or that it would imply profits for any specific company.

    It is more likely to me that the Europeans just don’t like Qaddafi in some deep way. I guess the same goes for the Arab League.

    Maybe you can be in their face with a troop of blond bodyguards for so long …

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  43. lagiusmeatius says:

    Yeah it is interesting to see how the president’s, on the left or right, have vested interests in resources that are contained in these countries of “interest”. The same thing happened during the Bush era, where there was no credible evidence for WMDs in Iraq (in fact there were forged documents brought to public attention), but “we” declared war anyways. Was it a coincidence that Iraq just happens to sit on huge oil reserves? Please… Meanwhile in other nations in the world, in Africa and Asia, there are similar events happening (civil unrest, mass killing, stockpiling of certain weapons, etc.), but if those nations have no resources, it hasn’t been in the best interest of the U.S. (i.e. our corporations) to push for war there. The humanitarian argument has been used many times, and perhaps once in a GREAT while, it truly exists. However, for the most part, there is greed for oil and resources (backed up by U.S. military force) which is presented under the false guise of trying to “protect democracy”. If we actually had a president that wasn’t in the pockets of corporations, we might have a chance. Unfortunately Obama, as well as Bush and many others, were deep, deep in those pockets — some more than others. The fact that the military comprises over 50% of our spending (not the illusory 25% that the DOD requests for their budget), and the fact that the U.S. is guilty of so much military interventionism when it serves corporations and access to resources that don’t belong to us–it’s easy to see why we spend so much on defense. Its easy to see why we spend over $1.2 TRILLION per year on “defense”. Perhaps if we have true campaign reform, where everyone has an equal public-provided budget for campaigning, then we won’t have the popular candidates with the most money win the election — these same candidates that have vested interests in these corporations and thus 2nd and 3rd world country’s resources. Hopefully campaign reform among other things will truly precipitate so the candidates are actually elected because the people want them to be, and its actually in the majority’s best interests. Unfortunately there are so many people in this country, that say “candidates shouldn’t have limits on what they spend”, “if they’re more wealthy and can afford to advertise more and campaign better, good for them!”
    Right…because its clear that the majority of people in this country relate to and should be represented by those millionaires, right? Has it worked thus far for our best interest? I don’t think so. Since the number of households in the U.S. making between 75 and 125% of the median income (i.e. middle class) has only decreased since about 1967. Meanwhile the number of billionaires in this country have increased from 1 back in 1979 up to 13 back in 1981 (start of the Reagan administration) to 82 billionaires by about 1989 (end of Reagan era). Now the current number of billionaires in the U.S. is around 400+ currently. Is it any coincidence that middle class has fallen (the majority of the U.S. is middle class), while the small number of billionaires has went up by a few hundred? Is it a coincidence? Are we then surprised by the fact that our government & politicians are owned by corporations (those same entities that precipitate these billionaires)? Like I said, serious campaign reform is needed, so we can vote for once, without the “illusion of choice” that we have nowadays — where we are rather voting for the lesser of two evils.

    Peace and love to you all,
    -Lagius

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