LINK: Reading this discussion by norm of the argument that since Iraq was not, at the moment of invasion, in humanitarian crisis, invasion on humanitarian principles wouldn't fly, I was reminded to the preface Hannah Arendt added to The Origins of Totalitarianism in the 1950s, arguing that the relative relaxation of the gulag under Khrushchev was a definitive sign of a thaw in totalitarian behavior; neither argument holds up particularly well to scrutiny if you want to the terms involved to keep relevant meanings. Me likey:

"For you have to grasp the full secret of this kind of argument - the argument that military intervention in Iraq might have been justified at some earlier point, but not any longer since the killing had 'ebbed' - and this secret is that the great majority of the victims are already dead. I can improve on that, actually. All of the victims of murder, whether of mass slaughter or serial individual butchery, are already dead. And some that aren't, soon will be already dead. It doesn't take very long to kill a human being; and it doesn't take very long to kill thousands upon thousands of them. In Rwanda, going on a million were done to death in a matter of months. If you discount the already dead from your calculation of the morality of a given regime change, a given humanitarian intervention, you thereby put a value of next to nothing on anyone who is still alive, but menaced with the proximate threat of being killed. For there's only a fleeting few moments between being alive and being violently dead, and once people are dead (the way the world works), they're immediately dead already. If their lives, once taken, are worth nothing to the moral case, then the lives of others yet to be taken aren't going to be worth very much."

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