Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Not The Charming Kind Either

You got to give them credit for boldness. John Judis explicitly asks in The New Republic: "Is America a Rogue State?"
What exactly are we doing in the Horn of Africa, where we have encouraged the Christian government of Ethiopia to invade Somalia and replace its Islamic government? As far as I can tell, we have violated international law, committed war crimes, helped Al Qaeda recruit new members, and involved ourselves in a guerrilla war that could last decades. It's Iraq writ small. And it can't be blamed on Donald Rumsfeld.

The accusation of war-crimes isn't hyperbole either--Judis claims that we used an AC-130 to target a town suspected of harboring al-Qaeda operatives, indiscriminately gunning down civilians in the process. If true, that is a massacre.

James Kirchik has a response which legitimizes the legality of the action, but Brad Plumer's rejoinder is rather compelling:
Maybe this is all perfectly "legal" in some sense. And maybe you can argue that backing Ethiopia's invasion was a good idea on the merits (here's reason to think otherwise). But it's difficult to see how it doesn't undermine the international order in some way when the United Nations is pushing for a diplomatic resolution and suddenly the United States and its ally decide to "solve" the matter through military force. Am I missing something?
Regardless of the merits, it used to be that would not find such questions outside the farthest fringe of the left-wing wastelands. Now, some of the more prestigious journals of the mainstream feel compelled to deal with it. What hell have we wrought on ourselves (much less the world)?

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