The Humanitarian War Myth

È aquilo que se chama o que parece ser o paradoxo inevitável dos "humanitarians with guns"que acaba a atirar a matar contra aqueles que vieram a ajudar, e angustiado por se ver envolvido no meio dos ódios primários dos outros provavelmente exarcebados pela sua própria presença.

Tal como a ajuda internacional acaba a produzir em todo mundo cada vez mais "Estados falhados" (Palestina, Timor, Kosovo, Haiti, etc) mas pior do que isso "sociedades e comunidades falhadas" não sustentadas.

By Eric A. Posner - The writer is a professor of law at the University of Chicago and co-author of "The Limits of International Law.".

"(...) The idea that war can have a humanitarian as well as a national security justification has a long pedigree and surface plausibility. Some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century occurred in weak states whose governments could not have resisted a foreign military invasion. The genocide in Rwanda, which killed more than 800,000 people in a few months, was eventually halted by a force of Tutsi rebels; surely a Western army could have stopped it sooner. If nations can intervene at little cost to themselves because the target nations are weak and by doing so they prevent massive human suffering, then surely they should do so. The logic seems compelling

But logic is no substitute for experience, and experience shows that humanitarian war is an oxymoron.

The first blow to the idea was the failed intervention in Somalia in 1993. U.S. forces sent to maintain the peace while aid was distributed to millions of starving civilians were withdrawn after just 18 U.S. soldiers died. Policymakers drew the lesson that the American public will not tolerate casualties in a humanitarian war that has no clear national security justification. This lesson guided President Bill Clinton's refusal to authorize military intervention during the Rwandan genocide and his decision to limit U.S. military intervention in Kosovo in 1999 to high-altitude bombing, which ensured that no American pilots were killed -- at the expense of civilians on whose heads errant bombs fell. The Kosovo intervention, although regarded as a success in some quarters, has cost billions of dollars, required a seven-year occupation and could turn out to be a slow-motion version of Iraq.

The Iraq war itself has dealt the second blow. The problem with humanitarian intervention is not only that the costs are usually too high, but it turns out that the benefits usually are low. There are just too many risks and imponderables when war is used to prevent atrocities rather than to defeat an enemy. Military weapons inevitably kill civilians, and smart tyrants foil smart bombs by using their own civilians as shields. Dictators understand that a war premised on humanitarianism fails if they can make the invader kill their citizens. Removing the dictator risks civil war, which is almost always worse than the original abuses. Replacing him with another dictator only puts off the atrocities until another day. Long-term occupation breeds hostility, then insurgency and violence. In comparison with this, the original ruler might not seem so bad after all.

Saddam Hussein was an especially bad tyrant, and Iraqi civilian casualties attributable to the U.S. intervention do not yet equal what he was able to accomplish, albeit over a longer period. The Kurds and many Shiites are better off. And many Iraqis continue to think that the war was worth it, according to polls.(...)"
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