Media Lens usefully critiques liberal interventionists advocating a US war front in Syria:
Despite hundreds of years of conflict, the documentary record, and the West’s disastrous ‘humanitarian’ wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the Pew Research Journalism Project found last September that ‘the No. 1 message’ on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and Al Jazeera, was ‘that the U.S. should get involved in the conflict’ in Syria.
The surprise failure to achieve that war has been a festering wound in the psyches of cruise missile liberals everywhere ever since.
In the New York Times last month, establishment intellectual Michael Ignatieff, one-time favourite of the Observer and BBC, commented that the near-certainty that Russia would veto any UN authorisation of air power meant ‘stopping the war in Syria will stretch domestic and international legality. But if legality is not stretched, the killing will go on indefinitely… Above all, using force would make the president “own” the Syrian tragedy. So far he has tried to pretend he doesn’t have to.’
International law needs to be ‘stretched’ – more accurately, broken – so that Obama can ‘own’ the Syrian conflict; by right, presumably, of his might.
Ignatieff’s compassion for the many civilian victims in Syria quickly made way for more ‘pragmatic’ concerns:
‘The fact is he owns it already. American inaction has strengthened Russia, Hezbollah and Iran. It has turned Syria into the next front in the war with Islamic extremism. And it has put in jeopardy the stability of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey and risks leaving a failed state next door to Israel.
‘If the president already owns the deadly consequences of inaction, it is only prudent now to back diplomacy with force so that the consequences do not become deadlier still.’
Like all cruise missile liberals, Ignatieff portrays himself as a man of peace reluctantly forced to endorse war as a last resort. In March 2003, the Guardian gave him space to write:
‘I don’t like the company I am keeping, but I think they are right on the issue… Bush is right when he says Iraq would be better off if Saddam were disarmed and, if necessary, replaced by force.’
There was no real moral argument:
‘The problem is not that overthrowing Saddam by force is “morally unjustified”. Who seriously believes that 25 million Iraqis would not be better off if Saddam were overthrown?’
In fact people far more knowledgeable than Ignatieff believed exactly that of Iraq in 2002 and 2003. No rational person can doubt it now after one million post-invasion deaths.