Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times has a great piece about the human side of the crisis in Libya. It sheds light on why it was important for the UN to do something about it. It provides much needed context for people to understand why it was urgent that we moved when we did and it answers the question that everyone is asking – why did we go in? Maybe if the media did a little original reporting like Nicholas Kristof, they could show that instead of just running banners across the screen and asking over and over again “what is our mission, why are we going in?” Hey, idiots, isn’t that your job to find out, instead of just bringing on one of the many strategists trying to get their mugs on television and make a name for themselves. Go do some freaking reporting and maybe you will find out stuff like this. From Nicholas Kristof’s piece…an extended paste job, because it’s important…(emphasis is mine)
This may be a first for the Arab world: An American airman who bailed out over Libya was rescued from his hiding place in a sheep pen by villagers who hugged him, served him juice and thanked him effusively for bombing their country.
Even though some villagers were hit by American shrapnel, one gamely told an Associated Press reporter that he bore no grudges. Then, on Wednesday in Benghazi, the major city in eastern Libya whose streets would almost certainly be running with blood now if it weren’t for the American-led military intervention, residents held a “thank you rally.” They wanted to express gratitude to coalition forces for helping save their lives.
This is also one of the few times in history when outside forces have intervened militarily to save the lives of citizens from their government. More commonly, we wring our hands for years as victims are massacred, and then, when it is too late, earnestly declare: “Never again.”
In 2005, the United Nations approved a new doctrine called the “responsibility to protect,” nicknamed R2P, declaring that world powers have the right and obligation to intervene when a dictator devours his people. The Libyan intervention is putting teeth into that fledgling concept, and here’s one definition of progress: The world took three-and-a-half years to respond forcefully to the slaughter in Bosnia, and about three-and-a-half weeks to respond in Libya.
“Opinion was unanimous,” Michel Gabaudan, the president of Refugees International, told me on Wednesday after a visit to Libya. Mr. Gabaudan said that every Libyan he spoke to agreed that the military strikes had averted “a major humanitarian disaster.”
“Men, women and children, they are ecstatic about the role of the coalition but worried that it may not continue,” he said.
Some Congressional critics complain that President Obama should have consulted Congress more thoroughly. Fair enough. But remember that the intervention was almost too late because forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi were already in Benghazi. Indeed, there was a firefight on Sunday right outside the hotel in Benghazi where foreign journalists are staying. A couple of days of dutiful consultation would have resulted in a bloodbath and, perhaps, the collapse of the rebel government.
A senior White House official says that the humanitarian argument was decisive for President Obama: “The president was chilled by what would happen to the people of Benghazi and Tobruk. There were critical national security and national interest reasons to do this, but what compelled the president to act so quickly was the immediate prospect of mass atrocities against the people of Benghazi and the east. He was well aware of the risks of military action, but he also feared the costs of inaction.”
I’ve seen war up close, and I detest it. But there are things I’ve seen that are even worse — such as the systematic slaughter of civilians as the world turns a blind eye. Thank God that isn’t happening this time.
Wow, isn’t it great to have some real reporting going on instead of just “there are many questions” or “critics say this or that”…go ask the freaking questions, get some answers and then report about it you dimwits. Go read Nicholas Kristof’s whole piece, there is some that I didn’t paste. And go visit his blog, which I just added to my blogroll, and give him some mad props for being a real journalist.