Humanitarian Bombs – September 2014


The Tower Of Babel Comes To Paris: The Folly Of Obama’s “War” On ISIS
by David Stockman • September 20, 2014

Perhaps the amateur warriors running the show in the Obama White House have not noticed, but their foolish campaign against Russia over the Ukrainian civil war is a direct threat to the only thing that keeps the Russian economy alive—its gas and oil exports to Europe. At the same time, elimination of the Assad regime would almost surely compound that threat by opening up a new gusher of competition for the European energy market in the form of a pipeline through Syria and Turkey for transport of Qatar’s now stranded but massive deposits of natural gas.

Another war in the name of humanitarianism: we don’t fight men, we fight monsters
by Jeff Sparrow Sept. 2nd, 2014

These days, invasions are more like social work. Western nations today always fight in the name of humanitarianism, so that contemporary wars possess a distinctive vocabulary and grammar.

For instance, each new humanitarian intervention must first distance itself from the previous one. In 2013, when John Kerry argued for military strikes in Syria, he presented his plan as a contrast to previous actions: the Syrian intervention, he said, would not resemble the Libyan intervention. He didn’t mention that the Americans and their British allies had sold the Libya mission on an identical basis. For Libya, you see, was to be nothing like Iraq. But then, Iraq, too, was meant to be different. In 2003, George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard all contrasted their war with the disasters of Vietnam.

Now here we are again.

Iraq in 2014 will be “nothing like” the 2003 intervention, says Tony Abbott. “They are two very different situations,” he explained. “What’s happening now is a humanitarian involvement.” Which, of course, was precisely what Blair argued – and look how that worked out.

The necessity of the “not like last time” trope stems from the almost universally disastrous record of recent humanitarian missions. Libya (remember that?) offers a particularly vivid example, since, back in 2011, the mission there was widely described, in David Owen’s words, as “the prototype for a new kind of intervention.”

So, after all that humanitarianism, how’s Libya travelling?