The invasion of Afghanistan should have happened before 9/11 and Saddam Hussein should have been removed from power in 1991. Clinton (who I am not fan of due to his inaction on Rwanda, passage of NAFTA, repeal of Glass-Steagall, et cetera) at least had strict sanctions on the Taliban which the Bush Administration lifted allowing them to travel to the US for meetings with UNOCAL and Enron. Who gave the Taliban or Saddam Hussein the right to seize power illegally and enslave entire nations?
Has the carnage in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein been the fault of the US and the “crazy” Iraqi people or has it been the fault of Sunni and Shia Islamist militias? Was it wrong to remove Saddam by force? One could say the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo were a delayed reaction to the fall of Tito and that Tito should have remained in power, but that would have been untrue as well. The Taliban should have been removed from power in 1996 when they first took power.
I don’t see the Responsibility to Protect as a “right” belonging to any particular nation, but an obligation belonging to the world community to remove dictatorships whenever possible. I have been a strong proponent of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine since before it existed and will be until I am in my grave. It was morally wrong for the world not to intervene in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. It was morally wrong to fund Saddam Hussein against Iran and for that we owe the Iraqi people. It was morally wrong to fund Islamists against the Soviets in Afghanistan and then abandon them to warlords and for that we owe the Afghan people.
I talk with Afghans and Iraqis regularly who do not have that mindset. All Americans would not be KKK if the KKK took over America. Afghanistan has been traditionally full of Buddhists, Shia, atheists, liberals, communists, feminists, poets, musicians. Iraq used to be Babylon which invented agriculture as we know it and once had the largest libraries in the world. Recent polling puts the numbers of Iraqis who doubt the existence of God about equal with the numbers in the US.
National sovereignty is of no concern where human rights are being violated. It was right to fight the Nazis and it was right to have a Civil War to end slavery. This why I advocate for a world secular liberal democracy and the elimination of nation states, for the end of nationalism, the global application of enforceable universal human rights based upon something similar to the UN Human Rights Charter with some additions and improvements. I also think heads of state should all face the same system of justice as everyone else. I will advocate this all of my life and maybe in a century or two after I die it will be reality, owing in at least a small part to my advocacy.