Liberal Cherries Popping All Over Again
Gary Younge, writing on the Innocence of the Liberal Hawk, on why any sane person should be troubled by the context of Western intervention in Libya:
Far from being a knee-jerk response to Western military action, opposition to the bombing marks a considered reflection on the West’s knee-jerk impulse to mistake war for foreign policy. This impulse follows a well-worn circular logic in three parts: (1) Something must be done now. (2) This is something. (3) So we must do it. And that something invariably involves bombing.
Such sophistry treats “now” as its own abstract point in time: a moment that bears no legacy and carries no consequences. Amnesia and ignorance are the privileges of the powerful. But the powerless, who live with the ramifications, do not have the luxury of forgetting. They do not forget Shatila, Falluja, Abu Ghraib or Jenin—to name but a few horrific war crimes in which the West was complicit.
This time around, however, there is no need for historical references, because the hypocrisy is playing out in real time. When protests started in Tunisia in January, the French foreign minister offered the Tunisian police training to “restore calm.” The day before Libya was attacked, dozens of protesters were shot dead in Yemen. Less than a week before, Saudi forces invaded Bahrain, where many protesters have been killed. These are American allies.
So while the West clearly has the power to intervene, given its history of colonialism and imperialism, it has no more credibility to do so on humanitarian grounds in this region than Iran would to bomb Bahrain in defense of the Shiites who are currently being killed there.
Invoking history, tut tut. We operate according to impulse buy rules in America, buddy. We see the candy, we buy it! And the celebrity tabloids, too! We’re warlocks infused with tiger blood singing about Friday in an always updating mashup of passionate tweets and cardboard principles. There was no yesterday. It is always tomorrow. For now.