May 11, 2008

Can we justify invading Burma on humanitarian grounds?

A NYT op-ed from January 17, 1990.

40 comments:

AllenS said...

Do they have oil? If so, then it's a go.

rcocean said...

If Burma is in such bad shape, there is no reason why India could not take care of it.

In general, the US government has no right to ask its soldiers to die in wars that are not in defense of, or for the national benefit of the USA.

Of course, the NYT editorial board can always pick up an M-16 and lead the charge.

downtownlad said...

Well if we invaded Iraq for trumped up charges, then I guess we could invade Burma.

Would be just as stupid as invading Iraq though. Maybe even dumber, because of the rift it would cause with China.

Then again, there is nothing that gives the neocons a hard-on more than war with China.

vbspurs said...

The sarcasm is not lost on the readers, I'm sure, but this is not the time to be scoring rhetorical points about Iraq.

I'm sure if we invaded Burma, leftists would cheer because after all, it's a right-wing dictatorship. They'd probably take up arms if we ever decided to invade and dismantle Israel too (yeah, probably not). These people are not anti-war or pacifists, in the least.

They just want the right wars fought, for their ideological reasons.

But let me take my own advice. Though I have low opinion of the man, you can go to the Soros site for links on donating to the relief effort.

http://www.soros.org/initiatives/bpsai/links/refugee

A Red Cross ship carrying 1,000 tonnes of relief supplies just sunk. I don't know about you, but they need it.

Cheers,
Victoria

George said...

Allens--

If the liberation of Iraq was about obtaining cheaper oil, we would have cut a deal with Hussein, he'd still be in power, the Iraqi people would be under his tyranny. (In fact, we would have let him take Kuwait.)

What's more, we'd be in a less advantageous position to confront Iran to prevent its terrorist regime from obtaining nuclear weapons. We'd also be less able to dissuade it from backing Hezbollah which just last week used military force to intimidate Lebanon's legitmate government and vicariously Israel and our other friends in the region.

Like it or not, because of our preeminent political, economic, and cultural position, we remain the cop on the beat. A flatfoot sometimes, sure. The Chinese dictators are not going to go after Zimbabwe's dictator, a long-time admirer of North Korea's regime. It seems we barely have the energy to do that, much less go after the terrorist supporting Chavez, whose support for FARC threatens much of Latin America.

You and I may both be clods, but if either or both of us is washed away by the sea, we will all be the less for it.

dbp said...

Humanitarian grounds are, I think, perfectly reasonable justification for invasion. It should also be in our interest to do so and I don't think that case has been made.

From what I have seen, the only wars the left likes are ones where we intervene against our own interests--like when we helped-out Aristide in Haiti.

AllenS said...

What?

rcocean said...

We should offer them humanitarian aid, and if they refuse, we should kill them.

Its all about doing good.

downtownlad said...

Half a million dead Iraqis. But it's for their own good.

I wonder how many people from Myannmar do we have to kill for their own good? That's just what the country needs after a huge natural disaster - a good war. Why didn't I think of that?

jimbino said...

Hell, If we can justify support of Israel to the tune of $3,000,000,000 plus per year, we can justify any meddling in international affairs.

AllenS said...

dtl said:

"That's just what the country needs after a huge natural disaster - a good war. Why didn't I think of that?"

You did think of that with your first post:

"Well if we invaded Iraq for trumped up charges, then I guess we could invade Burma."

Balfegor said...

I'm sure if we invaded Burma, leftists would cheer because after all, it's a right-wing dictatorship. They'd probably take up arms if we ever decided to invade and dismantle Israel too (yeah, probably not). These people are not anti-war or pacifists, in the least.

Yes, er, and so was the Taliban in Afghanistan (an authentic theocracy, in fact), and arguably, so was the Socialist regime in Iraq -- any residual leftist socialism had pretty much gone out of the thing by Gulf War I and been replaced by a non-ideological tribal tyranny.

Re: administration of Burma, India would be the obvious choice, if only because they share a long border, and the government in Delhi (formerly in Calcutta) has a fairly long history of administering Burma anyhow. Used to be a minor province of the Raj after all. India probably still has all the old district records, in fact. On the other hand, the government in Delhi does not run India noticeably well, and it's likely that they'd make as bad a hash of it in Burma as they do in their own vast and varied empire. Might not do much worse than the current regime, but that doesn't say much, when the current regime appears to have just lost 100,000+ people to a cyclone.

downtownlad said...

i changed my mind. Let's invade Burma. This will be fun.

And Venezuela while we're at it. Let's invade them too.

And Iran - can't leave them out.

And Syria too - lots of evil doers there.

And North Korea as well - axis of evil - ya hear me!

War! War! What is it good for? Keeps neocons in power. Say it again y'all.

Trooper York said...

Does your dictator

Misbehave

grunt and grumble

rant and rave?

shoot the brute

Burma-Save

Trumpit said...

"Hell, If we can justify support of Israel to the tune of $3,000,000,000 plus per year, we can justify any meddling in international affairs."

That is a non sequitur.

Trumpit said...

Clearly, you feel that too much foreign aid is spent on Israel and that it it's unjustifiable. You don't explain yourself, though. Thanks for sharing.

alicia said...

I think our charity dollars will be used by Mayanmar's generals to increase their own wealth.

Until the relief effort is known to be going only the surviving storm victims, we should be cautious about donating.

As for invading, it sounds morally justifiable, but in practice, it would not likely be beneficial. Also, I'm not sure who "we" are. The US? the UN? the West? Myanmar's neighboring nations with some support from others?

If relief could be delivered by the US Navy going around and behind the Myanmar military, that might be effective and useful. But I'm on the other side of the world from the problem, and really don't know.

Simon said...

There's a halfway house: we could say that we're going to take aid to the Burmese, with or without the help of their government. We aren't going to overthrow the government, we could say, but any military forces attempting to intervene and prevent humanitarian activities will be eliminated.

In general, I don't have a problem with humanitarian interventions; I supported our intervention in Serbia, and have argued that we should have intervened in Bosnia and Zimbabwe. If the resources are available, and the case can be made, then Burma? Sure. But let's have a specific and detailed plan - we don't need another mess like post-invasion Iraq.

The country's name is Burma, by the way, not Myanmar. I take it DTL wouldn't refer to Germany as "Deutchland" or to Russia as "Rossiya" when speaking to an English speaker; drop the pretentious translation. Anglicized names are perfectly appropriate, and when they have stood in long usage, should not be displaced except in circumstances such as the collapse of the soviety union, when the country ceases to exist in its old form.

Revenant said...

We're busy helping the Iraqi government deal with terrorists.

There are 5.7 billion other people in the world. Let THEM help Burma. We're busy.

Palladian said...

Maybe the Iraqi Army should invade Burma.

Palladian said...

"BURMA!"

Why'd you say "Burma"?

"I panicked!"

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

I heartily await the enlistment of every "chickenhawk!" screaming lefty into the US military now that they're advocating an unnecessary war where there are no WMDs.

Trooper York said...

The Army guys

Can but try

To feed the sick

Don’t heed the dicks

Just make it stick

Burma-saves

PatCA said...

Well, Time magazine wants us to invade Burma now.

Apparently, having oil dooms a country to permanent "you're on your own, pal" status; we are only allowed to invade a country if it is irrelevant to our national (or international) interest.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1739053,00.html?imw=Y

Trooper York said...

The crisis is grave

We want to save

But leaders tin-pot

So let ‘em rot

Burma-saves. Not.

vbspurs said...

Anglicized names are perfectly appropriate, and when they have stood in long usage, should not be displaced except in circumstances such as the collapse of the soviety union, when the country ceases to exist in its old form.

You'll notice, Simon, that only the English is hijacked by these language custodians.

Not one single-solitary person in France complains when they still say, "Pekin".

Dammit, I'm going to call it the Peking Olympics.

Cheers,
Victoria

Palladian said...

I'm partial to calling China "Cathay".

Donald Douglas said...

I argued for "regime change Myanmar" yesterday:

"...if there was ever a time for bipartisanship in foreign policy, regime change in Myanmar should be it.

Conservative "realists" argued against intervention in the Balkans, and now "liberal internationalists" argue for a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. At some point partisan bickering needs to stop. American leadership is a force for good, and that's a more powerful thing than victory in the next election."

American Power

Michael_H said...

Sure, let's invade Burma.

I've been angry ever since they stopped sending us their wonderful shaving cream and keen roadside advertising. Damn commies.

Michael_H said...

memomachine said: "I heartily await the enlistment of every "chickenhawk!" screaming lefty into the US military now that they're advocating an unnecessary war where there are no WMDs."

Since the problem in Burma is of a humanitarian nature, hows about all the "humanitarians" on the political left saddling up and heading to Burma?

An all-volunteer army of hummanitarians, heading for Burma to provide humanitarian relief. What could be a better way for anti-military types to show their mettle?

Grab you passport and pack your backback with warm weather Patagonia clothing. Show the damn neocons what your made of.

George said...

I just came from a packed--packed, I say, packed--movie theatre where I watched a movie about a humanitarian, actually a guy who's a party animal, part outlaw cowboy, Yankee tinkerer, who saves innocent men, women, and children from brutal thugs in distant lands.

Iron Man.

If you listened only to the movie critics, you would think this movie was about an arms merchant who, after being waterboarded, becomes a pacifist. In actuality, he works with the U.S. Air Force, fights traitors, and even joins with another covert U.S. agency. And that's why the movie is a huge hit. Maybe Hollywood has figured out something.

(Be sure to stay past the interminable credits for the extra scene at the very end.)

The Drill SGT said...

Mike said...Since the problem in Burma is of a humanitarian nature, hows about all the "humanitarians" on the political left saddling up and heading to Burma?

every once in a while you read about:

- a guy who chains himself to Saddam's palace to keep a killer safe (aka human shields)
- a gal who gets kidknapped feeding Hamas killers
- a guy who gets his head cut off in Iraq meeting with the "insurgents"
- a gal who disappears in Africa helping the poor in Zimbabwe

folks with stars in their eyes don't liten well.

vbspurs said...

Maybe Hollywood has figured out something.

Wow, I almost went to watch that on Friday, but decided against it because I hate comics-adaptations (save Batman/Superman).

With that glowing recommendation, I'll give it a try, George, thanks!

rcocean said...

Yeah, lets invade Burma, after all it worked out well for the Japanese.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well if we invaded Iraq for trumped up charges, then I guess we could invade Burma.

If they were banning gays from getting married I bet your sorry ass would be leading the charge right?

You're such a tool DTL. Go back to fucking Thailand or whatever sorry ass remote part of the planet departed to you knob.

Nichevo said...

Yes: in theory, the argument over *justifying* the invasion ...lalala, as usual, becomes complicated. What is "just?"

If that means, "The Burmese junta deserves to die," then sure, no problem.

If it means, "The US is justified in alone invading and reforming the Burmese nation, to take all brickbats and nothing that can remotely be described as an advantage, doing nothing that anybody (anybody at all!) will ever consider to be wrong, despite all of our other commitments and burdens, out of enlightened self-interest,"

then I dunno.

Just for one thing, Burma is BIG. I believe it is about the size of Texas? (Put it another way, how about the Burmese Army invade Texas?) They have considerable natural resources. They have considerable military armament purchased with these resources.

Do we send in the cargo planes alone, first, or lead off with Wild Weasels flying SEAD missions? Do we strike first or wait for them to lock on to a C-17 full of doctors and nurses? Do we send people or just bomb the countryside with aerial drops of food, blankets, etc.?

When the first plane is downed, who wants to say, "Yes, I authorized the deaths of that aircrew, including the torture and murder of the pilot who survived the crash (not to mention deaths and injuries in the Burmese village destroyed by the impact), and will authorize more, because ...?" And how will they finish that sentence?

Naw, I mean I'm sure there are good answers. I would just like to hear them from the hypocrites instead of the usual dreary, knowledgeable, experienced suspects.

madawaskan said...

Iron Man

Ripley's Believe It or Not they actually did some fair research for that movie.

One of the actors shadowed my husband.

Gad! I better go watch it first before I call it "fair".

blake said...

It's a bit muddled. However, it's zippy enough and Robert Downey is a good enough actor with good enough lines to make it work.

Roger J. said...

We probably should start with Darfur...or Zimbabwe. How else to certify our PC credentials by not ignoring african-africans.

Bob said...

Since I keep hearing about how tired and broken the US Army is and how our equipment is all run down I think we leave Burma to the rest of the world. India and China are logical lead countries. I'm sure no one will have a problem when the Chinese and Indian armies "co-locate".

I think the US position on this humanitarian mission should be a simple "Where do we send a check?".