July 19, 2007


Obama: Don't stay in Iraq over genocide (PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press)

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

There's a perfectly rational argument to be made that one nation need not care about the genocide of another, and there's even a possibly compelling argument that some national interests can trump our moral obligation to stop a genocide, but it is morally repellent to argue that genocide isn't a good enough reason for America to intervene abroad.

Suppose, for example, that China decided to murder every Tibetan. Easy enough to argue that we have no political or economic interest in such a matter, but to then argue that the moral interest we'd have is not good enough to justify intervention is profoundly unAmerican.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 19, 2007 9:44 PM

One gathers his ancestors were not Hutu.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 19, 2007 10:29 PM

According the the AP story, Effendi Baraka Hussein Obama allows as how the U.S. should not act as a magnate in Iraq.

How's that for a teachable moment on the use and misuse of language!

To comment substantively, ponder how the world was rescued from Axis horrors by FDR's resolution to act as a magnate with respect to Nip genocide.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 19, 2007 10:30 PM

That's simply not what Obama is quoted saying in the article. He says that if the threshold for intervention is genocide, that would oblige us to already be in the Congo and Sudan. For that reason the lead is wildly irresponsible--and Orrin gives no evidence of having read past the lead.

Have been away for a while. From time to time I check back how Orrin deals with the collapse of arguments he once thundered forth with Yahweh-like certainty comes a cropper--for instance the inevitability of John McCain.

He ignores them, I learn, and moves on to further solecisms.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 19, 2007 11:46 PM

No, Rick, Obama is saying that diplomacy and negotiation between suicide bombers hell-bent on martyrdom and their targets is the answer. Negotiate with whom? Egypt? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Syria? Satan?

Obama is, in effect, saying that the U.S. troops are causing the mayhem in Iraq simply by being there. (Of course, the fact there is far more mayhem elsewhere, where the U.S. troops are not, prove he and his defenders incapable of a coherent argument -- oops, was that solecistic? the feelings of leftists are so easily bruised that I don't know.)

When I see the two of you standing between a suicide bomber and his target, negotiating and feeling their pain, I'll believe your rhetoric.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 20, 2007 3:50 AM

Come on, the threshold for intervention is interest; the pretext is genocide.

Had the Nips practiced their genocide agaist peoples of little or no geopolitical significance, no FDR or Wilson or McKinley, Polk or George W. Bush, could have taken them to general war. Allowing Japan to conquer China would have so upset the balance of power in the Pacific as to have upset our long-term geopolitical position.

In like matter, Our geopolitical interest in the middle east is profound. Of course the region is a naval choke point and focus of strategic resource. More than that, it is the situs of the conflict of civilizations we are determined to win.

In prior times, the holder of the balance of power, first the British, and later ourselves, had suffered the region to languish in its ancient irrationality. By destabilizing the region, we now bring about the reformation of the barbaric atavism which the earlier balance-of-power great game had allowed to exist.

So Effendi Baraka had it rightly, as far as that goes. We are not about to go off rescuing peoples in Africa from "genocide," any more than we rescued the Tibetans from the Chinese. We are generous, we are as moral as a world power--the world power--may be, but we are not mad.

I should hope that these distictions were intelligible, even to those who are innocent of the differece between a magnet and a magnate.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 20, 2007 4:26 AM

Yes, Rick, it's most important that Democrats have unfettered control of the levers of power. If that means a few million dead people here and there (as long as they're dark-skinned and nobody you know personally), well, you know, that's a small price to pay. It worked in Cambodia and Vietnam in 1975, right?

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 20, 2007 6:26 AM

Of course we should intervene in Congo and Sudan, as we've intervened in Nicaragua, the Blakans, Iraq, etc. And both a OPresident McCain and a President Clinton will likely intervene elsewhere based on genocide..

Your argument that mere genocide doesn't justify such intervention is appalling. It's why it's so hard to respect the Left anymore.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2007 7:25 AM

Obama - Pro-Genocide, Pro-abortion, and Pro-child sex ed.

He is hitting on all cylinders this week.


Posted by: Stormy70 at July 20, 2007 7:54 AM


Exactly backwards. We had no interests in Iraq. But we did want to liberate its people. Thus we lied about the interests.

Likewise the absurd notion that Japan was a threat.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2007 9:01 AM

OJ: Japan not a threat? You might ask the people of Nanjing about that one.

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 20, 2007 9:08 AM

Which state is Nanjing on the flag? You simply demonstrate my point. We fight because others need us to, not because we need to.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2007 10:35 AM

Yet only racists don't vote for the scattered brain Obama.

Posted by: ic at July 20, 2007 6:58 PM

Only racists vote for him.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2007 10:28 PM