Stanley Hauerwas has weighed in on military intervention in Syria. I have typically ignored Hauerwas on the subject of war, but he has convinced me that America truly is addicted to military conflict. It doesn’t seem to matter who occupies the White House. Every President wants a war. So many war crimes have been committed in Syria by all sides in the conflict. Tens of thousands have already lost their lives. Why is it suddenly morally imperative for the U.S. to intervene?
Here’s a snippet from Hauerwas’s interview:
Well, I think no one knows what humanitarian intervention means. If I were a person who was non-American, I would think humanitarian intervention is just another name for United States imperialism. And you could make a very good case for that.
Gassing noncombatants is obviously a terrible thing, but to make a distinction between conventional and nonconventional weapons strikes me as arbitrary. The kind of shelling that was going on in Aleppo is just as destructive as the use of a gas, so it’s not clear to me why you draw the red line here. It’s kind of left over from WWI and the use of gas there and the 1925 treaty.
And then — humanitarian intervention. You have to ask what is the relationship between that and “just war”? How has the US made itself an agent in this conflict? I don’t see on “just war” grounds how the US has been attacked. I suppose in realist terms, you’d say that the US is a status quo power. It wants to keep conflicts under control because as a status quo power, any conflict has the possibility of weakening our power. But that’s not humanitarian intervention. That’s just straight self-interested international behavior. And it seems to me you can say a lot in favor of that more realist view, which I think would lead you probably to not intervene, rather than to intervene.
Read the entire Atlantic interview.