Exactly this kind of human rights language has also played a part in the invasion of Iraq. A kind of militant humanitarianism had grown up during the late 1990s, which argued for a more robust strategy of intervention to secure human rights goals in faraway lands. This led many liberals to support the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan which followed the 11 September attacks. 39 While Stephen Holmes is right when he says that the ‘heady support’ of ‘certain sparkling intellects … played little or no role in the decision to invade Iraq’, he is also correct to
37 See Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (San Diego: Harvest Books, 1979), 292 and Karen Halttunen, ‘Humanitarianism and the Pornography of Pain in Anglo-American Culture’, American Historical Review 100.2 (1995), 303–34.
38 Michael Ignatieff, ‘Lesser Evils’, New York Times Magazine , 2 May 2004, 86.
39 Lieutenant Diane Beaver, ‘Legal Brief on Proposed Counter-Resistance Strategies to Department of Defense, Joint Task Force 170’, 11 October 2002, in Torture and Truth