Granted, intervention will be inconsistent. We’re more likely to intervene where there are also oil or security interests at stake. But just as it’s worthwhile to feed some starving children even if we can’t reach them all, it’s worth preventing some massacres or genocides even if we can’t intervene every time.
Goldblog tweaks Kristof's portrayal of Libyan and Iraqi attitudes toward intervention:
Just as a parenthetical, I doubt Nick Kristof was talking to the same Iraqis I was talking to before the 2003 invasion; the most oppressed Iraqis, the twenty percent of the country that is Kurdish, seemed fairly unanimous in their support for military intervention. You would have supported intervention, too, if your people had been the victims of a genocide.
But never mind that for the moment; if it is true that Libyans almost-uniformly support Western intervention to stop their monstrous dictator from slaughtering innocent people, then the argument against humanitarian intervention grows much, much weaker.
(Photo: A Libyan rebel gestures on March 24, 2011, as they try to retake the strategic eastern oil town of Ajdabiya from troops loyal to Moamer Kadhafi. By Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)