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Hullabaloo


Sunday, March 27, 2011

 
Block by block

by digby

Holy Joe is all in:

Senate Homeland Security chairman Joe http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifLieberman (I-Conn.) said the U.S. should intervene to help Syrian protestors if officials there turn weapons on the public as took place in Libya on Fox News Sunday.

Lieberman told host Chris Wallace that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad begins to slaughter his own people he could face an international coalition willing to implement a no-fly zone as they have done in Libya.

Lieberman said he would support U.S. intervention "if Assad does what Qaddafi was doing, which is to threaten to go house to house and kill anyone who's not on his side."

"There's a precedent now that the world community has set in Libya and it's the right one," Lieberman said. "We're not going to stand by and allow this Assad to slaughter his people like his father did years ago and in doing so we're being consistent with our American values and we're also on the side of the Arab people who want a better chance for a decent life."


I guess that means we're going in to Cote d'Ivoire, Yemen and Bahrain too! Unless, of course, we are following the Matthews/Mitchell Doctrine which is exactly what Lieberman said -- unless the bastard in question is one of our "friends." But then "friend" is a term of art in these cases isn't it?

I am interested in what Lieberman said about how we must stop any leader "threatening to go house to house and kill anyone who's not on his side." I know it's not precisely comparable, but I couldn't help but hear echoes of this when he said it:

Hours after the violence ended I visited the Army compound in south LA, where an officer of the 18th Cavalry, that had come to rescue the city, introduced me to two of his troopers. They could not have been 20 years old. He told them to recount their story.

They had come into LA late on the 2nd day, and they walked up a dark street, where the mob had looted and burned every building but one, a convalescent home for the aged. The mob was heading in, to ransack and loot the apartments of the terrified old men and women. When the troopers arrived, M-16s at the ready, the mob threatened and cursed, but the mob retreated. It had met the one thing that could stop it: force, rooted in justice, backed by courage.

Greater love than this hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friend. Here were 19-year-old boys ready to lay down their lives to stop a mob from molesting old people they did not even know. And as they took back the streets of LA, block by block, so we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.


Again, I'm not comparing the National Guard in the LA riots to Qadaffi's militia or suggesting that anything in America is literally similar to Libya. (There is no need to start lecturing me again about being a silly old hysterical hag for even thinking there could be a legitimate comparison between awful foreigners and ourselves.) But I am comparing two hyperbolic speeches in which the implicit message is that the government can "take back" its cities "block by block" with "force, rooted in justice, backed by courage." (You'll surely recall the circumstances that led to the LA riots.)

The point I'm making is that a doctrine of invading a country based upon the verbal threats of its leaders could be a rather dangerously elastic doctrine in the wrong hands. I guess we just have to hope a dangerous foreign power (or even one of our "friends") doesn't take it into their heads to adopt it or things could very confused.



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