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Strategies for a discontinuous future.












Tuesday, December 07, 2004
 


Politics of the Day - Why They Hates Us

"...A typical letter to the editor in Time magazine says that "invading a country and causing thousands of deaths and incalculable misery to innocent people is a sin." True enough; but this statement ignores the context of the prewar situation in Iraq. It is estimated -- not by the US government but by the United Nations and by international human rights groups -- that Saddam's regime butchered some 300,000 people in Iraq over 28 years. Many more dissenters were imprisoned, tortured, and subjected to barbaric punishments such as having their ears or hands chopped off.

What's more, according to UN estimates, by 1996 half a million Iraqi children had died as a result of US-led sanctions."

Look. The rest of the world isn't stupid. Of course they understand this argument. The problem, in fact, is the converse - they extend this argument to it's logical conclusion.

If this moral justification is really the reason for our actions, why don't we act similarly and as dramatically in every egregious case of human suffering - in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Rwanda (to name just a few)?

The fact that we don't, many people feel, betrays a deeper motive for our actions (not to mention the fact that making this argument helps paint us as hypocrites). And, of course, in the limit, this argument is essentially to maximize social welfare at the expense of individual outcomes - a socialist argument.

Now, lots of you reading this will tell me that I don't speak for the rest of the world. Clearly not. I'm just outlining two things. First, the rejoinder to the 'we're saving them' argument I hear from friends and colleagues here in Europe and Asia. Second, more importantly - the implicit assumption this argument hinges on - that everyone and anyone who's anti-war is too stupid to carry it to it's fairly (simplistic) logical conclusion.

That, I think, is an absurd assumption to make - it's this kind of idiotic superiority complex that makes people poke fun at America.

-- umair // 2:24 PM //


Comments:

why don't we act similarly and as dramatically in every egregious case of human suffering - in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Rwanda (to name just a few)?
- Like the argument presented by Cathy in her article..the question you are raising is also valid and i guess widely understood. My take on your question is - to look at the US invasion as an example - to corrupt, oppressive regimes. I know this might be an oversimplification, but compare this to situation to what is faced by all leaders, teachers etc.. best way for them to teach is through setting examples.

Who gave US the right to be the moral leader of the world would be the next question. But given the state of the defunct world bodies like UN it is not surprising that somebody took the lead. The threats laid out by states to other corrupt regimes have to be credible to make the rest of the world safer.
// Anonymous // 9:23 PM
 

why don't we act similarly and as dramatically in every egregious case of human suffering - in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Rwanda (to name just a few)?
- Like the argument presented by Cathy in her article..the question you are raising is also valid and i guess widely understood. My take on your question is - to look at the US invasion as an example - to corrupt, oppressive regimes. I know this might be an oversimplification, but compare this to situation to what is faced by all leaders, teachers etc.. best way for them to teach is through setting examples.

Who gave US the right to be the moral leader of the world would be the next question. But given the state of the defunct world bodies like UN it is not surprising that somebody took the lead. The threats laid out by states to other corrupt regimes have to be credible to make the rest of the world safer.
// Anonymous // 9:23 PM
 
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