[Leon Wieseltier] mocks Ezra's point on the relative benefits of spending money fighting Libya versus spending money fighting malaria, asking, "Did our inaction in Rwanda reduce the frequency of malaria in Africa?" The point seems to be that malaria eradication may be a better goal, but it's not politically tenable, and in light of that, intervening in Libya is a good second-best option in humanitarian terms.
But one reason that humanitarian intervention is so much more politically tenable than anti-malaria spending is that Leon Wieseltier, most everyone else at The New Republic, and a whole lot of other liberal hawks in DC have made it their mission for the past 20+ years to make it politically tenable. If he and his comrades thought anti-malaria spending was a better idea, then they should have spent time arguing that instead. But they didn't. And turning around when called on it and saying, "Well yes, this is a second best option" is really bizarre.
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