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Friday, November 18, 2005

The benefits of hindsight

‘Had we intervened in Rwanda in 1994, for instance, we might have stopped the genocide that killed nearly a million innocent civilians.’

The LA Times, for a change, but the suggestion is no stranger to the British papers that lead anti-Iraq war opinion.

What’s interesting is that the assertion draws its force from the fact that it didn’t happen.

Imagine that Clinton had sent troops in and (a more athletic stretch of the imagination) they had been spectacularly successful in stopping the bloodshed. Would he have gone down in left-liberal opinion as:

(a) a great humanitarian who saved hundreds of thousands of lives


(b) a cynical imperialist who must have got wind of Rwanda’s previously unknown oil reserves?

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