Sunday, March 27, 2011

Juan Cole on Libya

An Open Letter to the Left on Libya | Informed Comment:
"I would like to urge the Left to learn to chew gum and walk at the same time. It is possible to reason our way through, on a case-by-case basis, to an ethical progressive position that supports the ordinary folk in their travails in places like Libya. If we just don’t care if the people of Benghazi are subjected to murder and repression on a vast scale, we aren’t people of the Left"

This is an interesting and quite persuasive piece from someone that I respect a lot.

One problem that i have with it is that large portions of it read to me as "Libya is different than SOMEWHERE because ..." where SOMEWHERE is any place that is used as part of an argument against intervention by the US. This kind of situational ethics scares me for some reason.

Another major problem is that it assumes something not yet in evidence. Namely that there will not be a requirement for ground troops. If this does not turn out to be the case then a large chunk of his argument fails.

I hope that he is correct and I will be more than happy to say I am wrong if in 90 days this is over, Qaddafi is gone and there are no American troops stationed in Tripoli. Check back mid-June.

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