Liberal interventionists silent on ISIS’s medieval brutality

posted at 5:21 pm on July 30, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The coldblooded atrocities being committed by the fundamentalist militants fighting under the Islamic State’s banners in Iraq and Syria continue unabated.

ISIS militants in the north and west of Iraq are destroying ancient Christian and Shiite religious shrines unchecked, have robbed Christian Iraqis and purged them from the areas they control, and are now carrying out a virtually genocidal massacre of Shia Muslim men.

In a video that was deemed too graphic even for YouTube, ISIS militants revealed their brutality for the world when they posted footage featuring hundreds of Muslim men being summarily executed. “The video shows several dump trucks full of young men on their way to slaughter,” Jim Hoft wrote on Monday. The anguish of those young men who knew they are about to die is beyond recounting.

With these horrors unfolding before our eyes, where are those who once styled themselves champions of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine that once served as the academic framework for humanitarian intervention?

Where is United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, who once reportedly played a significant role in pushing President Barack Obama to intervene in Libya in 2011 and to advocate for congressional legislation calling for the arrest of Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony? The scale of the atrocities being committed in Iraq today is surely on par with those crimes which once moved Power to act.

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, Power argued that genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and the German death camps were actively permitted by the international community. This, she suggested, made the world complicit in the crimes being committed by the practitioners of genocide.

“The most common response,” Power wrote of the 20th Century’s genocides, “is ‘We didn’t know.’ This is not true.”

“It is daunting to acknowledge, but this country’s consistent policy of nonintervention in the face of genocide offers sad testimony not to a broken American political system but to one that is ruthlessly effective,” she added. “No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority, and no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on.”

President Obama, both a Power fan and a benefactor, aimed to change America’s policy of selective intervention into humanitarian crises when he brought her into his administration. Power, along with then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, successfully pushed for what The New York Times described as “a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq War” in Libya.

And yet, the heartbreaking violence ISIS continues to commit is met with silence from the international community and notably from those champions of the Libyan engagement.

Where is President Barack Obama who once made the dubious assertion that unrest in Libya must be quelled without concern for America’s parochial vital interests in that country?

“[I]n Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help,” the president said in 2011. “Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: keep power by killing as many people as it takes.”

“Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise,” Obama said of the Arab Spring even as it gave way to a dark winter. “But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be.”

All that moral clarity and resolve disappears when the conflict is centered in Iraq and the president’s domestic political considerations are taken into account.

In the end, America and the West are unlikely to do anything to stem the tide of violence they unleashed in Iraq by toppling the Hussein regime and abandoning that Middle Eastern state before it could provide for its own security. The case for a NATO-led humanitarian mission in Iraq is stronger than any of the arguments made in favor of intervention in Libya.

Those who once contended that no cost was too high to pay in order to protect human dignity are now weighing the costs associated with recommitting to guaranteeing Iraq’s security and are judging them to be excessive.

The once coveted academic notion of smarter, nuanced, liberal interventionism – a modern peacekeeping doctrine which result in the sloughing off the vestiges crass realism marked by great powers perennially balancing against one another — is just another casualty of the Obama-era. As are the scores of human beings in Iraq and Syria.

This post has been updated since its original publication.


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I fear the Muslims will kill millions of more people before they wake up. In fact, 50% will probably never wake up.

Oil Can on July 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Very simple: ISIS has already shown itself to be organized and fairly modern in its equipment and tactics. It’s not some tribesmen with machetes that could be dispersed by dropping in a few SEALs or capturing their leader.

Besides, anything that ever happens in Iraq from now on is “Bush’s fault,” so the left won’t worry about it.

Adjoran on July 30, 2014 at 5:28 PM

I’m sure Penelope Cruz and her Hollywood buddies are working up a couple of angry tweets right this second.

MTF on July 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM

There’s an outstanding book out on the Muslim religion: The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis

You don’t even have to buy the book. Just read the reviews without spending a cent and quickly learn a lot about what we are facing. And what we are facing… is not good.

anotherJoe on July 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM

The Islamic/leftist alliance.

They hate the West. That’s all that counts.

vlad martel on July 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM

There isn’t a Jewish or American Boogeyman there, hence the liberal silence.

Odie1941 on July 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM

We have to wait until they kill some gay folks. That seems to be the only thing that motivates the Left anymore.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

NOAH!

It isn’t ‘Right to Protect’!

It’s RESPONSIBILITY to Protect’!

Resist We Much on July 30, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Besides, anything that ever happens in Iraq from now on is “Bush’s fault,” so the left won’t worry about it.

Adjoran on July 30, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Yep, like everything else, it’s a political calculation. If Obama can blame it on Bush then there will be no action taken to slow the carnage.

…a virtually genocidal massacre of Shia Muslim men.

BTW, is anybody in the MSM bothering to ask what’s happening to the women?

forest on July 30, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Where is President Barack Obama who once made the dubious assertion that unrest in Libya must be quelled without concern for America’s parochial vital interests in that country?

Golfing. But he did save $15 at Geico.

Walter L. Newton on July 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

The same people who cut and ran on Iraqi children are now using Central American children to pass amnesty.

rhombus on July 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Katy Perry, Scarlett johanson, sean penn, Madonna, and the rest of the Mercedes Marxist Hollywood brain trust are curiously silent on the slaughter of Christians …

Whitey Ford on July 30, 2014 at 5:45 PM

We have to wait until they kill some gay folks. That seems to be the only thing that motivates the Left anymore.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Exactly. The war on women that the Taliban and ISIS is waging isn’t enough for them anymore, that girls older than 8 can’t get education or medical care, and this. Bad enough that they just line up hundreds of Shiites, bound and gagged, with the video rolling, and start shooting them all in the head. I think we got to go in with some firepower and break the back of ISIS. Forget about the point that ISIS is also the enemy of Iran, for now.

anotherJoe on July 30, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Well, to be fair, we haven’t really started the hashtag campaign in earnest yet, so, there’s that..

Tim Zank on July 30, 2014 at 5:49 PM

We have to wait until they kill some gay folks. That seems to be the only thing that motivates the Left anymore.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Anti-American Democrats a k a Marxists a k a Leftwing nuts don’t care if muzzies kill gays, as long as they want to kill Jews and Christians.
Exhibit A : A’Jad , who used to hang gays in public , was honored by Hussein’s jihadi associate Khalidi @ Columbia U in NYC and no one had a problem with that !

burrata on July 30, 2014 at 5:50 PM

OT but relevant.


Kansas City, Mo. (CBS ST. LOUIS/AP) – President Barack Obama responded to a heckler in Kansas City on Wednesday, with Obama responding to the woman yelling, “Jesus is the Lord of Israel.”

“I’m sorry what you hollering about?” Obama asks the woman, as the crowd noise picks up to drown her out. He then casually replied, “I believe in God. Thanks for the prayer. Amen. Thank you.”

Muslims believe in “God” too. Has anyone ever heard Obama say he believes in Christ?

Happy Nomad on July 30, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Out: Responsibility to protect.
In: Responsibility to protect your own @ss.

Move along, nothing to see here.

rbj on July 30, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Because they don’t like Jews.

And the libs like Obama and he has this Muslim Brotherhood thing about him that libs aren’t sure that it is kosher to be criticizing friends of friends of Obama…

albill on July 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM

The media has long been silent about Muslim brutality, but burn a Koran and it’s national news.

bw222 on July 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM

“Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: keep power by killing as many people as it takes.”

So basically what he is saying is that Islam is a WMD?

Johnnyreb on July 30, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Any word from Comrade Pope ?

burrata on July 30, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Because they don’t like Jews.

albill on July 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Yet, the ACLU, which is pretty much controlled by secular Jews, usually goes to bat for Muslims when states or local governments enact laws prohibiting Sharia.

bw222 on July 30, 2014 at 5:57 PM

They went after Gaddafi and he was Mother Teresa compared to these sub-animals.

VorDaj on July 30, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Where is United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power?

In Gaza helping the UN stop the slaughter of innocents. /sarc

redguy on July 30, 2014 at 6:02 PM

You see – Jews killing Muslims – bad

Muslims killing Muslims – eh

redguy on July 30, 2014 at 6:02 PM

The faces of the condemned is horrifying .

gxbhkt on July 30, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Dead Christians? Dead Jews? The left loves that! Why would they stop that–it’s what they want. Dead Muslims at the hand of fellow Muslims? Who cares?

Dead Muslims at the hand of the US? Imperialist Warmonger Running Dogs! Unless its a leftist prezzie, then oh well.

Can we blame a Jooooo? Then dead Muslims matter!

Vanceone on July 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Liberal interventionists silent on ISIS’sislam’s medieval brutality

FIFY.

Rebar on July 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Does not fit “the narrative” and thus is not really happening.

Moreover, Obama can’t bring himself to speak against Islamic terrorism even or especially when it’s Muslim on Muslim.

I think it’s Obama’s the hater. Not us here at HA.

We actually really care.

Libs only PRETEND to.

Sherman1864 on July 30, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Don’t get in the truck.

SunSword on July 30, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Wow, look at all the trolls’ defense of freedom and liberty. Who’d have known that they are liberal after all.

obama denounced all this, to standing ovation.

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Michelle obama denounced.

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Hillary?

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Where is not only Samantha Powers – where is the entire UN?

One more item, not reported much. The opposition party of Iran, many members and adherents, are marching at the WH. They’ve asked to be supported by obama and they’ve heard back “NO, the US has no intentions to support a gov’t change in Iran”.

Just as obama never supported the ‘spring’ in Iran, and by his silence enabled so many to die, once again he is an incredibly thuggish eunuch. NO, he is for the wild ones. Period.

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2014 at 6:35 PM

And yet the Left believes that this is how Christians want to behave… and criticize Christians for the behavior that the Left believes they want to do.

Those actually DOING IT?

Crickets.

A field of crickets.

ajacksonian on July 30, 2014 at 6:37 PM

The open border will enable ISIS to enter the US and to cut heads off, literally.

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2014 at 6:39 PM

The Lefties have been doing it since ‘Nam.

I fear the Muslims will kill millions of more people before they wake up. In fact, 50% will probably never wake up.

Oil Can on July 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Chlorine for the gene pool.

formwiz on July 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM

burrata on July 30, 2014 at 5:50 PM

That was then, this is now. And I wasn’t speaking so much about The Won but liberal in general. They are very narrow in their defense of certain people.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2014 at 7:08 PM

anotherJoe on July 30, 2014 at 5:45 PM

I am for supporting the Kurds. Strongly supporting them, as in give them everything they need.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2014 at 7:10 PM

The key in these mass executions is NO ONE Suffered,
whereas in the US when someone is executed, it may take 10 minutes to 2 hours to die. The ISIS execution deaths were immediate and painless.

The world cares about, not how many people are killed, how long they take to die!!

If the US justice system would just blow peoples brains out with a .45 caliber bullet instead of trying to drug them to death, the world would be fine with our capital punishment system because it was painless.

KenInIL on July 30, 2014 at 7:50 PM

The faces of the condemned is horrifying .

gxbhkt on July 30, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Even when it is in your face and it is transmitted in real time, people don’t seem to care.

This is why Hitler got away with it for so long…….

Really, The US should be dropping bombs on ISIS with B2 bombers night and day.

Obama loves drone strikes – Iraq was begging him to drone ISIS before they came into the cities.

But you see – these are the guys that were fighting Assad and Obama would look like an idiot for flip-flopping on his Islamist buddies. So world – this is Obama’s foreign policy in a nutshell……

Let the Islamists slaughter at will – but condemn Israel because they are fighting a war to defend their own country….SICK, SICK, SICK….Obama should not be impeached. He should be in prison.

redguy on July 30, 2014 at 7:57 PM

The key in these mass executions is NO ONE Suffered,
whereas in the US when someone is executed, it may take 10 minutes to 2 hours to die. The ISIS execution deaths were immediate and painless.

The world cares about, not how many people are killed, how long they take to die!!

If the US justice system would just blow peoples brains out with a .45 caliber bullet instead of trying to drug them to death, the world would be fine with our capital punishment system because it was painless.

KenInIL on July 30, 2014 at 7:50 PM

I agree, we need to send our prisoners on death row over to ISIS for disposal.

redguy on July 30, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Even when it is in your face and it is transmitted in real time, people don’t seem to care. This is why Hitler got away with it for so long…….

Really, The US should be dropping bombs on ISIS with B2 bombers night and day.

Obama loves drone strikes – Iraq was begging him to drone ISIS before they came into the cities.

But you see – these are the guys that were fighting Assad and Obama would look like an idiot for flip-flopping on his Islamist buddies. So world – this is Obama’s foreign policy in a nutshell……

Let the Islamists slaughter at will – but condemn Israel because they are fighting a war to defend their own country….SICK, SICK, SICK….Obama should not be impeached. He should be in prison.

redguy on July 30, 2014 at 7:57 PM

But you see, the Iraqi government tried to “Westernize”. To The One and his clique of mystics, that is the Ultimate Sin. So they must be destroyed so that a “true, enlightened, mystical” Eastern regime can blossom there.

As for Christians- The One doesn’t like them (as the O-Care business makes very clear), so as far as he’s concerned, it’s all good.

He wants to see ISIS take down Israel in the end. Count on it.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 30, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Because for them, it is all posturing. They don’t really care about anything but power and how to achieve and maintain it.

Libya was posturing. Syria was posturing. The border “children” is all about posturing. “20th Century genocides” is all about posturing (remember these were the people who supported Pol Pot and such). Kony was posturing. He!!, even capping Bin Laden was about posturing.

GWB on July 31, 2014 at 8:55 AM

We have to wait until they kill some gay folks. That seems to be the only thing that motivates the Left anymore.

Cindy Munford on July 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Nope. Iran kills gay men with regularity, and publicly, and it doesn’t even get a yawn over here. Because multiculturalism or something.

Don Michael Bitsconi on July 31, 2014 at 1:59 PM