As we have seen, political decisions are usually influenced by corporate demands. War is no exception. Invasion is always a choice, and we know who benefits when such choices are made. The military benefits and arms manufacturers benefit. All the corporations with government contracts benefit. The oil companies benefit. One thing that Megan McArdle has taught me is that it's about the money, almost always. Money is power and purpose, safety and pleasure. It is a source of self-esteem and a defense against insecurity.
Our elite steal from the poor, poison our air, water and land, torture and kill their enemies and prisoners, and then lecture us about our morals. Giving them the benefit of the doubt on invasion is insane; to believe what they tell us is to ignore reality. Libya has control over oil. We need oil. We have already invaded-what, four? five? countries in the middle east and financially support others. Everyone knows this but not many people like to admit it. They find excuses to ignore the facts and eagerly discusses them among themselves, examining each feeble act of cowardice in loving detail. And thus centrist punditry was born.
Let's watch Jonathan Chait squirm as he tries to justify his support for another invasion. It sure beats contemplating yet another American war. He can be useful for once by amusing us.
Why intervene in Libya and not elsewhere is a question that needs to be asked. But it's not a question that needs to be asked to determine the wisdom of intervening in Libya.
Refusing to ask questions is the hallmark of an ideologue who doesn't want to hear bad news. The answer to that question is "oil."
Should we also spend more money to prevent malaria? Yes, we should. But I see zero reason to believe that not intervening in Libya would lead to an increase in in American assistance to prevent malaria.
Yes, we should invade because it's not like we were going to do anything good with the money anyway.
Why not intervene in Burma or Yemen or elsewhere? I would say the answer is prudential: for various political, geographic, and military reasons, the United States has the chance to prevent slaughter in Libya at reasonable cost, and does not have the chance to do so in Burma.
I thought that question was settled? It must be worrying at his mind. The reasons are "oil" but telling us that we can do it on the cheap is an interesting twist. A familiar one, too. Just ask McArdle, who told us that Iraq oil would pay for the Iraq war.
But suppose there's no answer whatsoever. Does it matter? If it were the 1990s, and the Clinton administration were contemplating an expansion of children's health insurance, would it be important to determine exactly why we're covering uninsured children but not uninsured adults? No. The question is whether this particular policy intervention is likely to succeed or fail.
Does it matter if we know why we invade? Of course not! The only question is if we'll win or fail!
Now, I think there are very reasonable arguments to suggest that the operation in Libya could devolve into a quagmire, fail to achieve its objections, or achieve them at unacceptable cost.
It's the McArdle Technique--by stating something you are negating that thing, magically. If you have a conflict of interest you simply state that you have a conflict of interest and then it won't count anymore. Then you can go ahead and profit from it! This handy-dandy technique also works for very reasonable arguments. If you state that an argument is reasonable, you can then ignore it and go back to supporting your own unreasonable argument. This technique neatly cuts out the whole "prove your argument using facts" stage of punditry, which was the most tedious one anyway and will not be missed at all.
And, of course, some people -- not Sullivan or Klein -- think the U.S. has no right to intervene in places like Libya. But that's the question. The question of whether or not we ought to intervene in some other country, or in some other way, is an important foreign policy issue, but not an argument against intervention in Libya.
Stated, dismissed, hit post and go out for coffee. Best freaking job ever. He says the question of whether or not we should invade Libya is not an argument against invading Libya. Chait has to blather a bunch of nonsense to avoid examining the facts of the argument. He has to tell us that determining the facts will not help us decide whether or not to invade Libya--and he's right, because we don't decide and the elite have absolutely no intention of looking at any facts while they start more killing, destroying, and spending.
Poor Chait. Everyone else gets to argue from emotion but he has to pretend that he's presenting an intellectual argument. It's kind of