John Holmes writes an excellent piece in the Washington Post today, and says:
"we must stay focused on the goal: assisting people in crisis. From the first, the aid operation in Myanmar -- as is true everywhere we work -- had to be about helping vulnerable people in need, not about politics. In this post-Iraq age, I am concerned that humanitarians are often pressured to choose between the hammer of forced intervention and the anvil of perceived inaction. Was there a realistic alternative to the approach of persistent negotiation and dialogue that we pursued? I do not believe so. Nor have I met anyone engaged in the operations who believes that a different approach would have brought more aid to more people more quickly."
Of course, the Post's editorial page, which since the Iraq War has tried to outdo itself and even the Republicans in hawkish browbeating and slavering neocon scrivenery, feels otherwise.
All I know is, Holmes's measured, determined diplomacy was a proper execution of Responsibility To Protect, and it saved many many lives in Burma. The Washington Post and its ilk who called for military invasion and regime change? They didn't save any lives, but if enough people had listened, they could have destroyed a fair few.