Honestly, one of the things I’ve always been proud of liberals for is their general acceptance of science and awareness of history. Yet all I see on the liberal blogs is more “heh indeedy” it’s just like Iraq. Is Yugoslavia that long ago?
In any event, it’s not that I don’t see the parallels. Arabs. Chemical weapons. Bad guy dictator. UN inspectors. Threats to disarm. Allies begging off. Skeptical public.
Americans like to say we’re “not the world’s policeman.” That’s true because we have hardly ever enforced the law, not because of the fact that since 1991 we’ve been the only nation or entity really capable of doing so in the first place. Should we be? Who knows what the world order would be like if our military weren’t on par with the rest of the world combined. More peaceful? Who knows.
What we can only know is how it is now. As current UN Ambassador Samantha Power wrote:
Since the Holocaust, the United States has intervened militarily for a panoply of purposes — securing foreign ports, removing unpalatable dictators, combating evil ideology, protecting American oil interests, etc. — all of which provoke extreme moral and legal controversy. Yet, despite an impressive postwar surge in moral resolve, the United States has never intervened to stop the one overseas occurrence that all agree is wrong, and that most agree demands forceful measures. Irrespective of the political affiliation of the President at the time, the major genocides of the post-war era — Cambodia (Carter), northern Iraq (Reagan, Bush), Bosnia (Bush, Clinton) and Rwanda (Clinton) — have yielded virtually no American action and few stern words. American leaders have not merely refrained from sending GIs to combat genocide; when it came to atrocities in Cambodia, Iraq and Rwanda, the United States also refrained from condemning the crimes or imposing economic sanctions; and, again in Rwanda, the United States refused to authorize the deployment of a multinational U.N. force, and also squabbled over who would foot the bill for American transport vehicles.