Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Military Intervention

"The second argument against intervention is that it will only ever be exercised against the weak. As David Rieff points out, it is impossible to conceive of force used against Russia on behalf of the Chechens, or against China on behalf of the Tibetans." 1

"One choice, always, is to follow the Hippocratic principle: 'First, do no harm.' If you can think of no way to adhere to that elementary principle, then do nothing." 2

"...as soon as we accept that an attack by a powerful nation against a weak one is legitimate, we open the door to any number of acts of conquest masquerading as humanitarian action. As Chomsky points out, Japan claimed that it was invading Manchuria to rescue it from "Chinese bandits"; Mussolini attacked Abyssinia to 'liberate slaves'; Hitler claimed he was protecting the peoples he invaded from ethnic conflict." 3

"Surely then we need a new UN charter, not just to save the oppressed from the likes of Saddam Hussein, but also to save both humanitarianism and world peace from the likes of George Bush. We need a charter which permits armed intervention for humanitarian purposes, but only when a series of rigorous tests have been met, and only when an overwhelming majority of all the world's states have approved it. We need a charter which forbids nations with an obvious interest in the outcome from participating." 1

You can always do more though. Sending in unarmed peacemakers, and educators. However, this would be a slow process to bring about change and lots would be killed!

1. George Monbiot, 23rd March 2004. A Charter to Intervene. www.monbiot.com
2. Noam Chomsky, 9th April 1999. Judge the US by deeds, not words. New Statesman.
3. Noam Chomsky, ibid.