Brendan Loy, in this great piece, reflects on the hypocrisy of wanting to end genocide without the possibility of war:
Look, I’m not saying that wars are always justified, nor even that every war that ends a genocide or takes out a genocidal madman is necessarily justified; if non-military means can accomplish the same end in the same time frame, of course they should be used (unless there’s some other compelling reason why force is necessary). Nor am I suggesting that leaders who seek to justify wars on the basis of stopping or preventing genocide are necessarily interested purely in the humanitarian rationale. That would be naive to the point of idiocy; of course other reasons generally take priority (regardless of what might be said in public), and when those other reasons don’t exist, we don’t usually get involved. And it’s perfectly reasonable to criticize our leaders for that.
What isn’t reasonable, in my view — and I’d love to hear a coherent argument for why I’m wrong — is to state that you are “anti-war in principle” while at the time demanding that all genocides can and must be stopped. The reality is that some genocides — not necessarily all, but certainly at least some, and probably most — cannot be stopped without military action. And moreover, even among those that can be stopped without military action, the plausible threat of military action is generally a prerequisite to successfully putting any sort of diplomatic pressure on genocidal regimes. It may be an oversimplification to say that “the only language they understand is force,” but certainly when we’re talking about the sort of people who would commit genocide, it’s a concept that can’t be blithely ignored. Simply put, genocidal regimes are not generally run by nice people, and they’re unlikely to stop just because you ask nicely. All the rock concerts, earnest petitions, U.N. resolutions, State Department missives and even economic sanctions in the world won’t make an iota of difference if there’s nothing to back them up. If you’re unwilling to put your money where your mouth is, no one will care what you think.
Agreed. The fact is, there really isn't a coherent reason I can think of why Brendan is wrong on this. It's not that those who want to end genocide, yet remain "anti-war on principle" don't want to end genocide, it's that to hold such a position forces one to smack up against the reality that the latter (war), is sometimes required to end the former. It was war that stopped the Holocaust. It was war that stopped Saddam's reign, as well as Slobo's reign. Diplomacy's good, but to paraphrase Orwell, sometimes moral force isn't enough. Sometimes you need physical force.
Hat tip: Centerfield