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The Forum > Article Comments > Humanitarian intervention > Comments

Humanitarian intervention : Comments

By Jake Lynch, published 29/5/2009

Military intervention must be a last resort, it must be proportionate and it must be likely to do more good than harm.

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I started reading this, bracing myself for another paranoid gun-metal diplomacy analysis, and was very pleasantly surprised.

It’s seldom that we find an analysis of either the Kosovo bombing or the Sri Lankan war that does not follow the genocidal Serbs/Tamil terrorism script.

One great positive of globalisation is that the usual justifications for 'intervention' (aka war) are becoming less and less viable. And there is a gradual but solidly changing attitude in international circles to the traditional mindset that the outcome of every war – internal or external – must be a total military surrender of the side that happens to be on the wrong side of the big guns of international diplomacy.

Most Australians are unaware of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Sydney where Professor Lynch is Director (and there's another one at the University of Queensland).

These CPAC institutions put an accent on peace more than war, negotiation more than military strategy, and they analyse the structural violence within ALL societies - not just the ones we don’t like. They are a part of many new and exciting developments in international relationships that are filling the long-time void between the paper-tiger pretensions of so-called international diplomacy and the shoot-first hawkishness of world military establishments.
Posted by SJF, Friday, 29 May 2009 12:04:51 PM
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I for one am very glad this sort of article can be written.
I only knew the "official" version of the Kosovo war as portrayed by our patsy Press while it was going on.
In the light of the Iraq war which I knew was nothing like the "official" version of events, I now realise that the war machine is driving politics, not the other way around.
I hope one day the press can be honest about these engagements and present the true picture of criminal disregard for fairness and human rights.
Time to cage the Dogs of War. Necessary as pets, useless as masters.
Time for a proper global media without the extreme bias too.
Posted by Ozandy, Friday, 29 May 2009 2:50:10 PM
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ah...where does one start...Im born tamil srilankan, my father emigrated long ago when signs clear of what lay ahead in srilanka for some factual information thats grossly lacking in media currently...

but for historical learning purposes, the Ceylon tamil destruction is unique by virtue of group of people whom naturally academic and creative, excelling in professional fields...they migrated from tamil south india as fishermen over thousands of years and settled in north and east of Ceylon...

singhalese came from northeast india, settled in central and south ceylon...very tribal, closed knit, religious and respectful of their family hierarchy...academically not very adapt, excellent at social survival...

question seems how do academic excelling people go to lifting a gun...

it seems peaceful coexistence(balance of power) existed till after independence from british1948...singhalese(84%) majority parliament began...soon after 'Ceylon singhala only' policy engadged, countries name changed to singhalese srilanka, singhalese only national language law passed, and since progressed till all schools from primary segregated, singhalese and tamil, tamils taught only tamil, so instantly became illiterate in their own singhalese speaking country...and on...

about 3island wide unprovoked riots by organized at governtment level singhalese against tamils(instill intimidation/fear) had effect urgent protection/or emigration of tamils, large proportion left, now forming professional work in most countries of the world, and those left started the long road to lifting a gun to defend themselves...

soon tamil 'tigers' impenetrateable landmined a buffer zone in north/east, and peaceful for a while...singhalese went on worldwide b*@@kissing political game, listing tamiltigers as 'terrorists', then getting india to blockade sea travel to southindia, then israel to clear mine fields, then realtime access to satellite, so tamil positions instantly this, all tamil area buildings erased, all tamils moved to concentrationcamps, and empty land for singhalese...

all thats left is play 'we are nice' political game long enough for media to loose interest...

Ps~some halfmillion tamils who pick srilankan tea in central mountains we drink never given citizen status/rights/ singhalese
Posted by Sam said, Saturday, 30 May 2009 8:50:11 AM
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Rupert Smith, one of Britain’s most experienced generals and UN commander in Bosnia in 1995, makes many pertinent points in “The Utility of Force – the art of war in the modern world.” He writes:

“Military force when employed has only two immediate effects: it kills people and destroys things. Whether or not this death and destruction serve to achieve the overarching or political purpose this force was intended to achieve depends on the choice of targets or objectives, all within the broader context of the operation. That is the true measure of its utility. It follows that to apply force with utility implies an understanding of the context in which one is acting, a clear definition of the result to be achieved, and identification of the point or target to which the force is being applied - and … an understanding of the nature of the force being applied.” Force should be used only when moral and worthwhile objectives can not be obtained by other means, and Smith contends that the utility of force – when and how objectives are best met by force rather than other means - is not well-understood

Smith argues (similarly to Aussie general Jim Molan in “Running the War in Iraq”) that there has been a paradigm shift from “industrial” war between states to what he terms “war amongst the people,” where the battlefield is everywhere. “In recent years … the basic deadly purpose of a military force has been obscured and … has often been misunderstood in popular Western perception. … in many of the circumstances into which we now deploy, our forces as a military force will not be effective. … political and military activities are constantly intermingled [and] must be examined in parallel.”

I commend Smith and Molan’s books to anyone who seeks to understand when and how force might be applied by peace-loving nations or by the UN.
Posted by Faustino, Monday, 1 June 2009 9:19:39 PM
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