Rationalizing Humanitarian Warfare

Email a Friend
A Libyan rebel waves the rebellion flag as he stands over wrecked military vehicles belonging to Moammer Khaddafi forces hit by French warplanes on March 20, 2011.
From and

When America intervened in Libya, we were told we were doing so for humanitarian reasons. President Obama declared 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 refuse to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” This sounds like as noble a reason as any to commit the nation to a military engagement; but, is it a realistic one?

America has a long history of using moral imperatives to rationalize its involvement in war; but, it seems that these days we’re using the logic of humanitarian intervention more and more often. Joining us to explain the trend toward the humanitarian war is Tom Ricks, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and contributing editor at Foreign Policy Magazine where he writes the blog The Best Defense.