You know what’s always fun? Watching old clips of Christopher Hitchens being wrong. This is from the tail-end of a December 2002 debate with him, Harold Koh, Michael Walzer, and David Rieff. He’s the only one stridently for the war, though one gets the sense that Walzer and especially Koh might be happy with a UN-sanctioned intervention:
Koh and Walzer both concede entirely too much, but Rieff is right on target. This, from Walzer, is critical:
My argument with Christopher is a very old one, I think. There’s a slogan on the left, where we both grew up: “the liberation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.” And I think that applies not only to class politics, it applies to democratic politics generally. We can stop mass murder. We can stop – we should stop – ethnic cleansing. When people are in desperate trouble, when people are radically helpless, then intervention is justified. But tyrannies, authoritarian regimes, class hierarchies have to be overthrown from within.
I would only add that there is a peculiar irony is supporting the deposing of tyrannies not only not from the ground up, but through tyranny. After all, occupation (the governing of a territory by unelected, illegitimate foreign nationals) is tyranny every bit as much as dictatorship (the governing of a territory by unelected, illegitimate domestic nationals) is, if not more so.