Gaddafi’s Genocidal Buzzwords No Doubt Sent up Red Flag to Samantha Power

Ban Ki-moon, Samantha Power(Pictured: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Samantha Power.)

Much has been made about the united front that three women in the Obama administraton — UN Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary of State Clinton, and National Security Council staffer Samantha Power — presented in making the case for intervention in Libya. They’ve been called valkyries, while the men who opposed them — Secretary of State Gates and National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, among others — have been portrayed as “henpecked.” More likely, the men can’t see intervention except in the most brutally stark terms — to be used only with countries in which a perceived threat to the United States resides.

Though she needed convincing, as has been speculated Ms. Clinton may have influenced by her husband, still ostensibly in a state of penitence for his refusal to commit U.S. troops to quelling violence in Rwanda that metastasized into genocide. Ms. Power, who won the Pulitzer prize for Problem From Hell, her important book about genocide, has long been an advocate of humanitarian intervention and may have been the driving force. Exactly why? I suspect it had something to do with this. The Christian Post reports.

The group was heard singing a song quoting a Gaddafi speech, “Disinfect the germs [rebels] from each house and each room.”

Those words no doubt sent up a red flag to Ms. Power, attuned as she is to the language of genocide. “Disinfect,” “germs,” “insects,” “cockroaches” are terms heard in a state prior to genocidal acts. Now Gaddafi may not be inclined, nor in a position, to incite genocide. But it’s well within his capabilities to approximate it with massacres.

Meanwhile, humanitarian intervention would be ideal if it were always under the aegis of the United Nations and applied evenly — such as to Bahrain, not to mention the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur. Oh, and it would be nice if the number of military resources were not open-ended: for example, if intervention in Libya were were contingent upon withdrawal of troops and arms from Afghanistan.