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The Sawicki loophole

By Owen Paine on Tuesday January 23, 2007 11:14 PM

A comment by the Max man himself set me off. My thoughts are a bit disorganized and seriously incomplete, but it's a moment, I think, that needs a marker.

At his own site -- from the Max Factor's fingertips to your screen -- comes evidence of the fatal fault line in the anti-empire edifice:


"I supported the Kosovo intervention because I feared a genocide was in prospect, though I said there should be less indiscriminate bombing and more U.S. boots on the ground. I will be less inclined to be supportive of any such thing in the future.
This sez it all, don't it? Here in this one shaggy good soul resides the intervention demon at its stealthy best, for a moment exposed, even inside our guy who's against empire -- our guy ready willing and able to challenge the Kosa Volkstra on their skin-deep anti-war shallowness.

Here's Max admitting he sinned, too, over Kosovo. His closing pledge -- "I will be less inclined to be supportive of any such thing in the future" -- is wonderfully sly, instinctively counter-pompous in its understatement; but ultimately not enough, not nearly enough.

We are all sinners! We all betray our beliefs! Our loyalty is fragile! St Peter before the cock crew.

No, this is not excusable. It's even a weasel in its implied premise: NATO should -- of course! -- make an armed response to... genocide.

In the future. Max tells us, I'll not be duped by the corporate press's rush to intervention, with every cry of genocide.

Really? Does Max think that NATO might actually move because of a genocide -- not as pretext, but as prime mover?

While you're lingering over this conundrum, notice the boots-over-bombs bit. The ultimate smart weapon : a redneck with a rifle. This boots-over bombs theory, combined with the loophole for moral intervention -- how many steps is this from an enlarged, standing, intervention-ready ground force? Maybe an increase in the speed and size of the fast response forces might prevent the next Pol Pot!

And then, of course, to avoid surprise -- "more intelligence assets are needed," so we can know when to respond, to stop the next Rwanda. And the warning has to come soon enough. Not when it's just about to happen. Not like the "Lost In Space" robot crying "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!" -- that poor tin can can only twigged when it was too late to head off the danger.

Max, I fear you are an interventionist on first principles. There is a point, for you, where you believe good intentions will lead bad people to do good things.

Of ocurse we all have in the back of our heads the Holocaust paradigm: surely something could have been done, should have been done, about Hitler.

Well, what? A preemptive strike in 1936, which would have been about the right time? To ask the question is to answer it: it's sheer fantasy to imagine that the Powers would have acted then, and for that reason. Does Max think the world has changed? And if so, why?

If war should come come between great powers again -- then yeah, we should all do what we can to make genocide prevention into War Aim #1. That's a reasonable lesson to learn from the anti-Nazi war. What's not a reasonable lesson is to use genocide prevention as a pretext for any future intervention. Such attacks are not do-overs for the missed opportunities of the Thirties.

Just like "no more Munichs!", "No more holocausts!" has a twisted ring these days. The Great Satan's lips are never far from mouthing either one or the other -- or both.

Comments (3)

js paine:

as usual i can't find the john donne metaphor for this

but calling on uncle to intervene
in a genocide in progress...

well its like sending
a pathological thief
to investigate a brake in


Y'all might enjoy this. Jonathan Alter on the Webb response to the State of the Union.

"Webb is seen as a moderate or even conservative Democrat, but this was a populist speech that quoted Andrew Jackson, founder of the Democratic Party and champion of the common man. The speech represented a return to the tough-minded liberalism of Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey..."

I can't tell you how excited I am to return to tough-minded liberalism of that sort. Gosh, can we bring back Truman and Wilson while we're at it?

royal paine:

rowan here's my fave line
from Alter's
Webb ass lick

"The problem with the populist theme is that Democrats have no real remedies for the effects of globalization on the middle class. "

thanks for the link
webb is whittled out of wood but...

dad flew

"the berlin air lift..."

now that's news reel kold warrior pay dirt

three gens of military 'bearing'

the new virginians

that guv with the trick heavy eye brows
and now buried but there for veep revival a former koslick former guv too

the lead :

not since madison monroe and jefferson .....

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Tuesday January 23, 2007 11:14 PM.

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