Via Greg Hengler, it’s simple as can be. If (1) there’s a preventable humanitarian crisis looming and (2) the benefits of intervention outweigh the costs and (3) there’s international support for intervening, then “go for it.” Question: What if (1) and (2) are satisfied but not (3)? Just … let ’em die, then? I can understand France using that calculus since they’re incapable of mounting a humanitarian intervention without international (i.e. American) support. It’s a necessary precondition, as it is for every other country in the world — except us. If we’re using it as a precondition too, it can only be because we’re so worried about a backlash on the “Arab street” to America intervening to save tens of thousands of Arab lives that we’d rather preserve what little goodwill we still have by letting Qaddafi kill people willy nilly. And of course, if we refused to intervene and stood by and let it happen, we’d be blamed for that too, which exposes the “international support” criterion for the fraud that it is. Essentially, if you take Mitchell seriously, the question of whether the U.S. should act to prevent mass bloodlettings in the Middle East should be left up to the opportunistic Islamists who now run Turkey and the cretinous dictator salon we know as the Arab League. In fact, this formulation doesn’t make sense on its own terms: “International opinion” is something that should fall under cost/benefit analysis, one of many factors to be weighed alongside things like the risk that the mission would present to U.S. servicemen, the financial expense incurred by the operation, etc. Why split it off and make it a standalone requirement? If Omar al-Bashir decides he’s going to liquidate the population of Sudan and the Arab League decides that’s A-OK, is Obama really going to let their disapproval stop him from acting? Please.

Incidentally, apart from military action, is there any “Obama Doctrine” for issuing statements of condemnation? I know they put one out a few days ago about the violence in Syria, but things have escalated dramatically and it sounds like Assad might be ready to go berserk. The international community’s cool with that, I’m sure, so we don’t even need to consider the costs and benefits of military action, but how about something a little more forceful than this weak tea?