Charles Krauthammer, like Joan of Arc , hears voices -- only the voices he hears from "around the world, from Europe to America to Libya are calling for U.S. intervention to help bring down Moammar Gadhafi." Yet, also like Joan of Arc, he seems to be the only one hearing those voices. Who, besides the folks who brought us Iraq 2, the liberal-hawk-neocon-usual suspects, has called for unilateral US intervention?
At best, you have John Kerry calling for putting potholes in airport runways. Kerry would not have the US attack Libya's airforce unless it was used for massacring civilians. I haven't heard the Libyan people ask for Uncle Sam to start the bombing campaign. They're not stupid; they saw how the United States destroyed Iraq in order to make it safe for democracy, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and US soldiers, sending the middle class into exile, and then propping up a pro-Western authoritarian ruler that replaced another authoritarian ruler not to its liking. As for Pakistan and Afghanistan – well, I am not one to cite Tom Friedman, but he has a valid point when he writes, "What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are almost identical to the governments we're applauding the Arab people for overthrowing?"
Those "voices from around the world" may indeed be calling for intervention, but not for unilateral intervention led by the US and some of its allies, but for international intervention. And last I heard, the US did not go to war against Saddam Hussein in order to stop him from mass killing his own civilians. When that happened we did nothing, and when he couldn't do it again, we went in to get rid of him.
But even if you are a liberal interventionist, when do you decide when to intervene? When civilians are being massacred in a bombing that is called disproportionate by the United Nations? I may be deaf, but I didn't hear any of the neocon hawk voices call for US intervention when Israel killed over 1400 civilians in Gaza, the vast majority of them non-combatants. Where was the call for a no-fly zone then? I didn't hear a peep from Messrs.' Krauthammer and friends at the outset of the Second Intifada, when the IDF killed 275 unarmed protesters, while suffering minimal (yet regrettable) losses. I didn't hear Mr. Krauthammer praise the Mitchell Committee report calling on the Government of Israel to "ensure that the IDF adopt and enforce policies and procedures. encouraging non-lethal responses to unarmed demonstrators, with a view to minimizing casualties and friction between the two communities" and "adopt tactics of crowd-control that minimize the potential for deaths and casualties, including the withdrawal of metal-cored rubber rounds from general use. "
And please don't respond that there is a fundamental difference between the cases; the Arab governments are going after their own citizens, whereas Israel is in a never-ending conflict with another…what? Because if there is a distinction, it is to the disadvantage of Israel. Israel has been oppressing the Palestinians under occupation for over forty years. They have much fewer rights than do the Libyans, Tunisians, Jordanians because they are being ruled not only by an authoritarian regime but one which sees them as aliens who can be dispossessed at will – something that no Arab under the most authoritarian regime feels.
This inconsistency shows that liberal interventionists are highly selective in their moral outrage, and that they suffer from a "Saving-Private-Ryan" complex – they will intervene to save people with whom they identify, people on their side. But if the civilians happen to be on other the side of their tribal divide, they become silent.
I don't hear their voices.