Sunday, October 01, 2006

It Wouldn't Really Have Been Better If We Had Done Nothing by Thomas Barnett

A gloriously one-sided analysis that says in effect, "the only killing that matters is that which occurs after we intervene."

The UN (and no one disputes this) said the sanctions killed 50,000 a year in Iraq in the 1990s, more than the cumulative total of this "disastrous" humanitarian adventure in Iraq.

Then there are all those Saddam killed at home over his long reign, especially in the aftermath of our "limited" campaign (Powell Doctrine in action) back in 1991.

Then there are those who died in his war with Iran (cynically supported by us) and his invasion of Kuwait.

But none of those deaths matter, because they do not occur on our watch - so to speak.

Only a lawyer could argue anything so amazingly one - sided.

But yes, better we "do no harm" and let Darfur burn, let Saddam kill, let the Gap be the Gap, etc. This is realism and the Powell Doctrine and international legal BS at its best.

I am not my brother's keeper. I just manage the cell block, letting out those I care to recognize now and then, and sending in the riot police to quell the riots when forced. Please, please, no shrink the Gap for me. They're all just dark-skinned people in a galaxy far, far away.

Think if we finally did something serious in the Congo we'd rack up 5 million dead in a decade?

Or would we probably have 50k on our hands, and a huge guilt complex to boot for our efforts ("What have we done?")?

Lincoln picked Grant because he could do the awful math required. We live in a world where the equations are all reversed in terms of effort, and still we lack a decent Grant. Instead, we've enshrined our very own McClellan, whose latest hagiographic biography hits the streets today.

Limited regret, limited morals, limited courage, limited caring. We live in an era of great circumspection, where the ass-covering careerist is worshipped and men of any firm action are vilified.

I give it to Bush: he tries. You can disagree with the calls and the execution, but he tries. The Do-Nothings of our age are the foreign policy equivalents of the Know-Nothings that once plagued our political system. They always have an answer to the question, "why not do nothing?" They want from the world but they owe the world nothing. The selfishness and self-delusion know no bounds.

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