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France and UN Hit Targets in Cote d’Ivoire.

[ 2 ] April 4, 2011 |

Well, well.

A couple of immediate reactions:

A) Based on this, allready the purpose of this action is being muddled by spokespeople. Is it to protect civilians? Is it to protect UN personnel? Is it to enforce the rule of law?

B) Ban ki-Moon is emphasizing that this does not mean the UN is a party to the conflict inside Cote d’Ivoire. At Opinio Juris there are some very good questions being asked about what this claims means.

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  1. joe from Lowell says:

    Well, DAMN, hippies!

    I don’t supposed there’s any chance you could start incorporating questions about John Kasich into your denunciations of the LIbyan intervention, is there?

    I keed, I keed.

  2. Bruce Webb says:

    Well I am sorry but I don’t judge things through categorical imperatives. Instead I tend to work in the Pragmatism/Utilitarianism field of Greatest Good for Greatest Number. And on that basis the number of people hacked to death by machetes in Cote d’Ivoire or blown to smithereens in Benghazi seem much reduced from the projected baseline over the last couple of weeks. On the other hand from a bottom line accounting basis the number of Iraqis killed in our ‘freedom’ effort seems vastly in excess of the number that Saddam was admittedly torturing to death, after all most of Saddam’s real mass killings occurred when he was a U.S. client.

    ‘What works’ may not be the Keys to Heaven, but it is not a bad operating principle. I am a bleeding heart who feels for the plight of Afghan women before and after our intervention and for political prisoners tortured and killed by Saddam pre-invasion, but the raw facts are we could have done a hell of lot more for women around the world and victims of repression generally if we had taken the hundreds of billions we dropped on Iraq and Afghanistan and dropped it in targeted ways around the world. And by ‘targeted’ I don’t mean at the leading edge of a Hellfire missile.

    You pick your shots and by and large the French (after a pretty horrific legacy in Indo-China and Algeria a few decades ago) seem to have pretty effective. Where apart from Bosnia (and then a little late) the U.S. seems to have stepped on its dick mostly. But viewing this through a pure lens of moralism ‘why Libya and not Ivory Coast’ is a little limiting. Why not do a St. Francis and strip yourself naked in front of the cathedral and devote yourself to serving the poor? Well we all make choices, there are few of us, however desperate who couldn’t make sacrifices to help those on the rung below. I mean at one level every time you buy prepared food or drink at a restaurant as opposed to buying the materials at a store is a theft from the destitute. But living at that level makes you crazy. Or a Saint.

    Given the outcome in Cote d’Avoire was the French intervention justifiable? I think so. On the other hand was the French intervention outside Benghazi a couple weeks ago justifiable? Well I think so, but it is a closer question. How about the U.S. decision to insert A-10s and AC-130s into the fight in Libya last week? Well got me, but I am pretty sure the right answer doesn’t start with Moral Categories.

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