Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, July 14, 2006


Before the war in 2003, I read a UN prediction (can't find a link, sorry) that the war would cost 250,000 lives and create millions of refugees. Was it worth the price? Yes, I thought.

Why not? Saddam's rule cost at least a million lives, maybe as many as 6 million, so even in terms of human life you might come out ahead. But anyway, there is a profound truth to phrase "Give me liberty or give me death." I've read 1984. I know that I would take the chance of being liberated from Saddam even if I had only a 1% chance of survival.

Anyway, at first the UN prediction looked completely wrong but now it may be belatedly coming true. StrategyPage describes "the expulsion of the Sunni Arabs." Healing Iraq has an interesting post on the "Iraqi invasion" of Jordan. In a way, the Sunni Arabs collectively deserve expulsion, except that there's no such thing as collectively deserving; moral responsibility is a property of the individual, not the group.

In Baghdad, the killing is accelerating. This portrait of Baghdad from blogger Riverbend is wrenching. Riverbend is a fine writer but an Anti-American Iraqi-British leftie who lived in England until she was eleven (if I remember right), and who used to work in a computer firm under Saddam, so she is obviously not representative of the Iraqi population, but still.

Meanwhile, there is "open war" between Hezbollah and Israel. Another anti-Iraq War argument may be coming true: the "regional war." A lot of people have been killed by Israeli strikes in Lebanon in the past 48 hours or so, so I should probably resist the urge to be cheerful about this... but it's nice to see Hezbollah get nailed. I'm sympathetic with the Palestinians, trapped without citizenship in Israeli-occupied land. But Hezbollah lives in the most progressive country in the Middle East; they have no excuse for participating in a death cult. Roger Simon thinks this is what Bush (should have) said to the Lebanese PM:

I'm hardly surprised. More likely it ran like this: "Seems to me, Mr. Prime Minister, that half of your country was being run by a homocidal maniac cult. I'd be glad to have someone come in and clean that up if I were you.... Now, you go say anything you want for public consumption, but just sit back and relax and let things happen. Comprende, amigo?"

If a Lebanon-Israel civil war breaks out, will that be a refutation of democratic peace theory, given that Lebanon is now a democracy? (The "democratic peace" is the famous empirical fact that there has never been a war between two democracies.) Well, maybe not. Hezbollah, not Lebanon, is in open war with Israel, and the fact that Hezbollah is part of the government and at the same is fighting its own war calls into question whether Lebanon has the monopoly of force that would constitute it as a state, let alone a democracy. Still, it's a close call.


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