Humanitarian Motivation for Invasion of Iraq

OK, frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of seeing people playing the harpstrings of international humanitarianism while flailing to defend the invasion of Iraq. Their grubby, dirty hands are making its chords sound like a chimp in an oval office room banging pots together.

So, I invite you all to whip it out and show how much you truly and deeply care about the plight of unfortunate mankind. You may peruse this leftist rag and pick up some ammunition with which you will surely step to the forefront and demand troop deployment to aid the suffering in Sudan. I mean, you obviously care so insanely deeply about a horrible dictator like Saddam, you SURELY must be grinding your teeth in AGONY about this bloody conflict.

FURTHERMORE, Sudan has played host to Osama bin Laden, and was suspected by the American intelligence of producing nerve toxins. This nation is a prime example of Muslim extremists spreading their hatred of Freedom.

I fully expect a march to the ballot box in support of immediate action. Operation Doubleplus Good Sudan must begin as soon as possible, before another life is tragically lost.

Because you give a damn.

Because you care about people.

Because you support Freedom.

Because you are a proud American, and absolutely will not let something as horrendous as this - as bad as, if not worse, than Saddam’s war against the Kurds.

I mean, good god! These people even have PLANES! They could attack AMERICA next! Why isn’t this a national issue now? I’m sure the Bush Administration is on the verge of a major announcement about this tragedy.

I’m sure you’re already salivating about this opportunity to provide for a torn and suffering nation. It has all of the aspects of Iraq, and then some! And it is happening RIGHT NOW!

Shine up that white armor and unstrap the feedbag from the warhorse, I have a feeling that the bleeding heart conservatives are going to be on this like flies on shit.

Or not.

This is not a GD. Get thee to the Pit.

I think you meant to put this in the Pit.

And yes, I think that we should be in the Sudan. Of course, other countries could trouble themselves to provide some humanitarian aid and peacekeepers as well, but I’m sure you just overlooked the fact that nobody else has made any moves towards the Sudan either. I’m sure that was just an oversight, right?

I’d volunteer tomorrow to go to the Sudan to help out. How about you, or is talk cheap?

This is a GD. I’m figuring out how deeply the humanitarian streak runs. I just did it in an incredibly sarcastic manner. Maybe I should rephrase myself:

Does the humanitarian justification for the invasion of Iraq apply to the other hundred countries that suffer equal or worse injustices?

Happy now that it is worded nicely?

Sure, let’s go. My career goal is to work for the ICRC. I don’t think questioning my dedication to the cause of humanitarian efforts is on order here.

So that’s one vote for yes, one vote for “this makes me uncomfortable and I do not like it.” Write your congressman!

You do understand, don’t you, that this is no coincidence?

Given the content of the OP, you should have titled this thread, “Humanitarian Motivation for Invasion of Sudan”. With respect to Sudan, the only thing of value a foreign force could accomplish would be to impose a two-state solution – that is, to enable the pagan South to win its independence from the Islamic North. But if the U.S. intervened to achieve that end . . . it would raise the obvious question, why aren’t we helping the Palestinians to win their independence from Israel? And why aren’t we helping the Kurds to win their independence from Iraq/Iran/Turkey/Syria? You see the problem?

Republicans can’t plau musical instruments?

Point accepted, I did consider it, though the topic I want to debate is whether or not the justification logic applied to Iraq applies to other situations.

Actually, much of the fighting is in the west, too. I’m sure someone more versed in installing democratic, Freedom-loving governments can come up with a fair solution. After all, it worked in Iraq an Afghanistan, now two of the Free-est Free Freedoms of all Freedomland.

I do, yes. That is actually my point - the use of humanitarian justification for the war is stupid. Thanks.

Plus Sudan has oil… :dubious:

At least you characterized your OP well.

So, cutting out the rant part (something on the order of 90% by my estimate), your question is, why doesn’t the US do something in the Sudan? Thats a fair question at least.

Listing the reasons off the top of my head:

  1. The Sudan has no strategic importance to the US. Its not located in a vital area, it doesn’t have vital natural resources, etc.

  2. Generally speaking the American people don’t give a shit about the Sudan. This is unfortunate, and I wish it were different, but its not. There simply is no hue and cry from the people to send in the troops. Any attempt by Bush OR Kerry to do so will be met with the same response Clinton got when he sent in troops to Somalia…namely apathy at best. For good or bad Bush and the anti-war crowd are doing their best to poison the well of US intervention for sometime to come.

  3. It would be a major political headache to send in troops to that area as it would make whats happening in Iraq look like a party. It would be Somalia on a vast scale, and our losses would be heavy. I don’t even know what we’d be able to DO, unless we went in guns blazing and imposed order on them. I doubt that would fly either at home or in the world community…especially not after Iraq. And the politicians realize this…its all part of their calculations.

Personally speaking, I’ve said in several threads that I DO think we should send in troops along with the UN and other nations to try and stop the slaughter (I haven’t got a clue as far as HOW we would stop it though…it would be a mess, no doubt about it).

Its simply not going to happen. Its not going to happen under Bush…and its not going to happen under Kerry either if he gets elected. I could be wrong about that last…Kerry MIGHT send in troops to the Sudan in an effort to patch things up with the world…I just dont think its likely.

Its a good point, but you know as well as I do it won’t fly. For one thing they kicked ObL’s furry ass out on our say so years ago. No one is going to REALLY believe they have nerve toxins or the time or energy to develop anything but locally used weapons like that in the midst of such a blood civil war.

The Sudan is totally under the average American’s radar. They don’t associate it with ‘muslim extremists’ at all, even though a lot of folks DO associate Somalia with them (ok, folks are fairly stupid sometimes). Iraq on the other hand WAS associated with ‘muslim extremists’ in peoples minds (incorrectly). It would take a hell of a lot of work by someone to change the average American’s mind about this and make them understand it would be worthwhile. I don’t see either candidate doing this as there really is no percentage in it for the US.

Probably not the answers you are looking for. In a different mood I would have been quoting the more flamboyant bits of your OP with a host of rolley eyes, but I’m too tired to bother tonight. Besides, once you cut through all your bullshit, it actually IS a valid question. I just wish you had of asked it as if this were GD instead of the pit.


If I may give a simple answer to a simple question (xtisme echoed many of my thoughts on the issue). The humanitarian reasons for invading Iraq were not alone. That is, there were other reasons. If you can find another situation where the humanitarian situation is similar to Iraq’s and meets many of the other criteria for the war, then you might have a point. And, I might add, a good argument for another war.

Which was the latter? If you’re referring to me, as a matter of fact I have in the last year or so looked into job openings with NGOs and the US military only to find I have no desired skills.

Would I personally be willing to get involved in a situation like that? Yes. Do I think the government should? Maybe; given that are military is pretty far extended as it is, and given the political reality that if the US were to do anything like you suggest, people like yourself would go insane, I’d say right now it’s impossible.

I realize this is difficult for you to grasp, but some people are capable of factoring in multiple elements: i.e. humanitarian needs AND national interest AND possible complications AND logistical realities AND all the other things. You put all the pluses and minuses together and see what you come up with. That’s the real world.

It’s only in Silly Theoretical Land that people insist that they need some sort of immutable fixed principle that applies to all situations at all times and eliminates the need for judgement calls.

Didn’t I just do that? Ties to terrorism (same as Iraq), bloody civil war (actually, far worse than Iraq’s), government slaughter of ethnic citizens (again, far worse), intelligence pointing to attempts at WMDs (about as accurate as Iraq’s)… hell, they even (as pointed out) have oil. I dunno, what else do you want to pull out of the horse’s ass to support war in Iraq? All the same situations are there - only they are worse in Sudan than they were in Iraq.

And still, most people’s best argument is, “uh, there are other factors, like the ones you have already mentioend a half dozen times.”

The best argument this far was presented by xtisme - namely, that no one cares, which loops right back around to my point - no one really cares about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and it is other motivating factors that were the cause for the invasion, so people should shut the hell up about those lies already. Once again, thanks.

No, you did not. Thank you for trying though. :wink:

And this is exactly the sort of black-and-white “us” and “them” thinking you no doubt decry in conservatives.

Some people don’t care a fig about humanitarian situations and advocated war for other reasons. Some people – Christopher Hitchens, Vaclav Havel and Jose Ramos Horta spring to mind – supported war in Iraq for exactly that reason and might advocate it in Sudan were it practicable. And some people do some of both.

A better question to ask yourself is “would you agree with humanitarian justification for sending troops to Sudan.”

If you answer yes, your OP is hypocritical in exactly the same way you describe the American government as. Why Sudan, and not Iraq, or palestine, or Nigeria, or North Korea, or Afghanistan, or the philipines, or colombia?

Xtisme: You seem quite sure that it would be Somalia writ large. Somalia was a case of a successful humanitarian which underwent mission creep something fierce. Could not a decent case be made for it being more like unto Kurdistan? If we go in with the right tools and stick to the plan. There are geographical as well as ethnic and sectarian differences between the warring parties (although warring suggests two at least somewhat equal forces).

I think that were it not for the current Iraq Brouhaha Sudan would be a natural candidate for some sort of US led UN mission. An international force to make sure everyone plays nice while leaders talk. (Of course were it not for Iraq you would still have general US disinterest in missions that do not represent vital national interests and/or represent neo-colonialism, but we’re talking hypotheticals here)

Invading the Sudan might be difficult because we don’t really have anywhere to base from. Short of an amphibious landing from Saudia Arabia, where are we going to put troops on the ground to go in?

Quite sure? No, I’m not quite sure. I understand that there wouldn’t be a lot of parallels between the two. My actual thought is the Sudan would be worse…far worse. Its a very chaotic situation. The US (or anyone else) would be unwelcome in the area in the extreme (I could be wrong about this…its coming from a friend of mine who worked for an NGO in the area a year or so ago). Logistics would be a nightmare, especially initially.

I conceed that if there were limited and fixed goals and a strong committment by the US and the other nations sending in troops and support it might be as you say. However, it seems that such situation, especially with large countries like the US and organizations like the UN rarely follow this course.

Well, I wouldn’t say ‘no one cares’. Say rather that it isn’t forefront in the publics minds as a more accurate statement. You live here…you can certainly see how the publics attention is fixed on some things but not on others. A lot of that has to do with the media and how they select and present the news, a lot has to do with the Government (not just the Administration) and what THEY focus on.

You are being too narrow on this though. For most people the Iraq invasion was about a lot of things. It was about stopping or at least curtailing terrorism. Ok, so maybe it was, and maybe it wasn’t in reality, but in peoples MINDS it was partly about that.

It was about removing an evil dictator who had the means and will to use WMD. Again, maybe he had them, maybe he didn’t, maybe he would use them against the US, maybe (probably) not…but people PERCEIVED that he did and might, so that formed part of the rational.

Finally (there are other reasons btw, but I think these were the main ones for Joe Citizen), it was about the humanitarian aspects. This certainly formed part of most peoples reasons, though it was probably not the major part as the situation there had been going on for a long time. In addition, as you pointed out, there are far worse situations of humanitarian disaster out there. But combined with the other factors it made the case for war more substantial in the peoples minds…made them more willing to consider it.

Its very difficult to mobilize public support for a major foriegn war in a democracy (unless you have a direct attack against the country…look at the relative amounts of work it took the Administration for Afghanistan vs Iraq). It takes a lot of work and effort by the government and the cooperation of the press, at least to some degree. Generally speaking the majority of American’s are fairly apathetic when it comes to sending out our troops for anything major…and don’t kid yourself, the Sudan would be pretty major if we were actually going to accomplish anything worthwhile.

I STILL think we should at least try…but I’m aware of the attention span of the US public as well, and when it starts getting tough over there, as I think it will, I wouldn’t be surprised if the public turned against the effort in a similar fashion to what we are seeing about Iraq.


The OP is making the erroneous assumption that if a person supports humitarian aid to country A, he **MUST ** support humintarian aid to country B (if B is similar to A). Even if the two countries are nearly indentical, it is certainly reasnable to recognize that we cannot intervene military in **ALL ** situation where intervention might do some good. It is also reasonable to assume that intervention would take place where at least some self interest is involved. Or are we also required to be completely selfless altruists?

The logic that was applied to Iraq was flawed, and that’s the problem with this debate. The White House said Saddam 1. had stockpiles of WMDs, 2. was a threat, 3. didn’t comply with the UN, and 4. by the way people, he is also a big human rights violator. Do you want to extend a flawed logic?
Had the White House stood up and said Saddam had to go for the simple reason that he’s a murderous dictator who abuses his people, - and that the fate of Saddam also awaits all other leaders who abuses their people, then yes, I would waved the American Flag.

But (no matter what Saddam had or didn’t have) undermining international law and making a mockery of such law by initiating inspections, then shutting them down, sets a dangerous precedent for how future conflicts between nations will be handled.

I believe that the greatest weakness of international law is that it doesn’t make demands in the human rights area. That regime change must come from within to be legal. I say to world leaders: Dictatorship or democracy, I don’t care that much, just don’t kill, torture, suppress your own people.

However, human rights interventions doesn’t fly with the US Congress, nor with many others.

For the record, I support intervention in North Korea, Iran, Burma, a string of African nations, including Sudan, cont. I don’t expect the american tax payer to fund it (why should they always bear the burden), but I do know that if the US doesn’t stand up and support such a Human Rights Doctrine, we will never see a revolutionary change in the world.

And I’m still against the Iraq war, not because of the result, but because of the way it came about.