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stop me if you've heard this one before

"Our goal is focused, our cause is just and our coalition is strong."

you have no idea how tightly my bowels clench when i read that statement. or maybe you do. because maybe you're one of the millions and millions of people whose sphincters contracted just a little bit when they heard president bush say that upon invading iraq. that would be the first president bush. when the second president bush said the same thing about invading iraq, i think a number of us scratched our heads and grew a little concerned about all those moralistic lectures we'd received about how drugs could cause you hallucinatory flashbacks when you least expected it.

what disturbs me about this quote, though, is actually that it comes from current president barack obama. i won't say it's verbatim what was said about iraq, but it's damn close.

to his credit, before saying anything of this sort, obama waited to see that he had the support of both the united nations and the arab league. but that quote still chills me to my core because it echoes the statements of two of his predecessors without irony.

i'm not trying to defend gadaffi here. i think his record speaks for itself and i think that a rebellion against him is long overdue. but i'd have to say that i feel the same way about repressive governments in yemen and bahrain, neither of which are receiving the international censure given to libya. in fact, it looks suspiciously as if the world (including the arab league) reaction to events in libya is serving to divert attention from other countries going through popular uprisings.

it also makes me wonder whether barack obama or david cameron would have the same reactions if there were rebellions in the united states or united kingdom. would they accede to international requests that their governments refrain from military action in atlanta or glasgow?

truth be told, i'm not choosing sides in any of these arguments, nor am i encouraging others to do so without further investigation. but in the relative absence of other voices doing so, i'm encouraging everyone to question why there are these differences in terms of how western governments are dealing with internal rebellions in arab and north african states.

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