It really pains me to see this kind of idiotic policy-making in the Obama administration. If I heard about a GWB administration official saying, "hey, we ought to actively intercede in other countries anytime we see a potential shit-storm about to erupt," I'd understand that, coming from a neocon who loves to see US military action provide some short-term entertainment for Faux News. But really, this is from staff supporting the current White House?
At its heart, the MAPRO [Mass Atrocity Prevention and Response Operations] initiative is about saving lives without putting U.S. troops in the middle of foreign quagmires. When mass atrocities happen, senior officials “end up saying, essentially, ‘Mr. President, we can either do nothing — except wring our hands and hope diplomacy alone will work — or else we can send in 30,000 troops,’” Brooks tells Danger Room. Most often, that keeps the United States on the sidelines of civilian bloodbaths. MAPRO gives presidents more options: detection, deterrence and even limited intervention — even though the technologies being considered for them are totally unproven at stopping massacres.
Indeed, MAPRO isn’t just about early warning. A drone that snaps pictures of trucks full of militia heading for a besieged village can also be a “powerful deterrent,” Brooks says, if their boss believes that someday, an international court might enter drone footage as evidence in a genocide trial.
That’s a big if. Not every mass killer cares about ending up in court, or about being watched — especially if he doesn’t think foreign armies will come to topple him. Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, for instance, surely knew the United States had spy satellites overhead while his forces committed genocide in Darfur, But the slaughter continued. Since no one’s talking about launching missiles from Predators at genocidaires, will any killer really fear having them record full-motion video of his crimes?
Okay, first of all, it's not going to be cheap or efficient to think that we're going to man satellite offices around the world dedicated to flying UAVs around, snapping pictures and analyzing data that will enable decision makers to become aware of what's going on and what options they have. At the least, this is a blatant attempt at not just global positioning of US forces, but of global dominance in every air space of every country of interest. You don't think this is an issue?
Second, your office's title is "Mass Atrocity Prevention." When the corrupt military forces/violent extremists/paid thugs/bad guys go off to kill their opponents and they don't mind the photospread, what then? Isn't someone going to say (in the spirit of Madeline Albright), "well, short of putting 30,000 soldiers or Marines into the country, let's put a few Hellfire missiles on those puppies." Ask Peter Singer how this ends, he's played this scenario out already.
This is a foolish, idealist concept, reflecting no understanding of the need to develop long-term policy that has tangible, achievable goals. It just goes to show that there's still no difference between certain neocon fantasies and liberal interventionalist dreams. It's not in our national interest to interfere with every country's internal affairs. It's one thing to promote American "exceptionalism" as a reason for turning to democracy - it's quite another to try to enforce democracy and freedom across the entire globe.
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