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The PJ Tatler

by
Amy Holmes

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March 28, 2011 - 8:17 pm

Like this one.

America cannot be the world’s police, but we have a unique moral obligation to prevent atrocities.  It’s true there are many such events around the world. But Libya is different.

Why?  The “international community” made it convenient.  America will live up its high ideals when it is easy and popular.

I also thought it was striking and unsettling when I heard it that he said, “as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”  He refused to wait for the bad press?  Very odd terminology I would never have written for my former boss.  We are talking about real, live people.  Not images.  Here’s the passage:

It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

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