Friday, March 18, 2011

The Obama Doctrine

President Obama established today what is possibly the only legitimate use of UN-sanctioned military force: Intervening in an internecine conflict to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in which largely defenseless civilians are slaughtered by a dictatorial or rogue state authority. The international community, as represented by the UN and led by the United States, has a MORAL RESPONSIBILITY to use all necessary power to prevent atrocities against civilians. PERIOD.

This is the 21st century, and we, as civilized people, should not tolerate a horrific repeat of the atrocities that happened in Bosnia, Rwanda, and northern Kurdish Iraq. Military intervention on humanitarian grounds rests on a solid legal and moral foundation of international law dating back to the Nuremberg Trials. What's so hard about this for the Idiot Punditocracy to understand?

Of all the trumped-up excuses for military intervention, this is perhaps the only type of preemptive military intervention, other than the usual claims of self-defense, that is justified. Setting up a no-fly zone under the auspices of the UN and the Arab League is not an act of war. Dennis Kucinich and the libertarian doves argue that it is, and certainly every U.S. military intervention since World War II was done without an act of war declared by Congress. So it's a tad disingenuous for Kucinich to demand such a declaration for a no-fly zone whose intent is to prevent genocide and establish a cease-fire. Chris Matthews wondered where the outcry from the anti-Khaddafi forces was for intervention. Apparently, he has ignored the persistent pleas by the Libyan rebels made to correspondents in the war zone with the question: "Where is America, where is Obama?"

Well, the President stepped up in the 11th hour and did the right thing. Military intervention to prevent genocide against defenseless civilians is the singular justification for the use of force for which there is no counter-argument based on our values and principles as a nation. Call it the Obama Doctrine. It's a whole lot better than his predecessor's, which "justified" preemptive military intervention based on subterfuge and manufactured intelligence of imminent threats to our national security that never quite materialized.

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