Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let's Help the Burmese by Killing Them

Thanks to pedestrian at Sadly,No! for spotting this inanity.

This is low, even for TIME Magazine. Is It Time to Invade Burma?

The disaster in Burma presents the world with perhaps its most serious humanitarian crisis since the 2004 Asian tsunami. By most reliable estimates, close to 100,000 people are dead. Delays in delivering relief to the victims, the inaccessibility of the stricken areas and the poor state of Burma's infrastructure and health systems mean that number is sure to rise. With as many as 1 million people still at risk, it is conceivable that the death toll will, within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur.

Wow, that sounds awful. So what's the solution, sages of TIME?

That's why it's time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma.
The cold truth is that states rarely undertake military action unless their national interests are at stake; and the world has yet to reach a consensus about when, and under what circumstances, coercive interventions in the name of averting humanitarian disasters are permissible. As the response to the 2004 tsunami proved, the world's capacity for mercy is limitless. But we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance.

That last line, which is the end of the piece, is a joke -- literally a play on words for chuckles. To some people war isn't hell, it's fodder for puns and flippancy. ("Give War a Chance" is also the title of a lecture Jonah Goldberg gave at the University of Massachusetts Amherst -- TIME is in poor company here) Here we are, five years into our Iraq misadventure, something most Americans agree was a mistake, and the national media is mocking those who believe war isn't something to be taken lightly.

When we invaded Iraq we created a humanitarian crisis. Millions of Iraqis lack access to uncontaminated water, proper medical facilities and electricy. Millions more are displaced refugees. So now, according to TIME, the solution to Burma's humanitarian crisis may be to go in and start shooting the Burmese.

If we bomb enough bridges, hospitals, schools, water treatment facilities and energy plants surely that will solve their problems. And no doubt the Burmese will greet us as liberators and shower our troops with flowers, gladly welcoming us even as we kill their relatives with errant strikes.

In the US media today it's nearly impossible to be too bellicose to be taken seriously. Whatever the problem it's sober analysis to suggest shooting people as the answer. To a man with a hammer everything is a nail and to a country with a powerful military everyone else is a target.

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