Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Juan Cole's Open Letter to the Left on Libya

Juan Cole was an early, articulate, and prescient opponent of the Iraq War. His blog, Informed Comment, became the go-to place for those of us seeking to construct a knowledgeable case against the war. Professor Cole supports the intervention in Libya, and explains why here.

Cole analyzes differences in the left over the intervention as a matter of cognitive dissonance: On the one, the left supports the efforts of ordinary people to free themselves from tyranny; on the other, it opposes as imperialism military intervention in their lives. In the case of Libya, Cole believes that the opportunity to rid the Libyan people (and the world, for that matter) of the sociopathic predations of Muammar Qaddafi is paramount and must be exploited.

The responses opposing Cole's position are depressingly predictable, illustrating a doctrinaire intellectual vacuity that substitutes sloganeering for critical thinking. To be fair, the left is hardly alone on that score...

5 comments:

Darlene said...

I am conflicted about our intervention in Libya. I remember thinking, when I was young, why didn't the U. S. intervene and stop the Holocaust? So I do think nations have an obligation to prevent a mass slaughter. But I am opposed to another involvement in that part of the world. Tom Friedman summed it up for me in today's op-ed piece.

Paula said...

ONE reason to intervene is to protect ourselves from this madman, who has attacked one of our commercial aircraft and supports terrorism training for those bent on harming the West, especially us. Once we made it clear we were not his friend, we became his enemy. At this point, if we don't contain him in some way, he will surely retaliate, big time. Then there's the issue of humanitarianism...

K. said...

I'm comfortable with providing air support via NATO or the UN. We have no business committing troops on the ground.

TaraDharma said...

Friedman's final paragraph says it all:

"Which is why, most of all, I hope President Obama is lucky. I hope Qaddafi’s regime collapses like a sand castle, that the Libyan opposition turns out to be decent and united and that they require just a bare minimum of international help to get on their feet. Then U.S. prestige will be enhanced and this humanitarian mission will have both saved lives and helped to lock another Arab state into the democratic camp.

Dear Lord, please make President Obama lucky."

What a freakin' mess.

injaynesworld said...

I fear we may have gotten sucked into another quagmire by the French the way we were sucked into Vietnam by them. Talk about arming the rebels chills me. We've been down that road so many times and it always comes back to bite us in the ass. Plus, who's going to train this rather rag-tag group who have so many divisions even amongst themselves? Finally, we're borrowing millions more to finance this thing while cutting essential programs for our own people. Funny how there's always money for war.