The thin blue line: how humanitarianism went to war

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Verso, 2008 - Law - 266 pages
10 Reviews
The ideathat we should 'do something' to help those suffering in far-off placesis the main impulse driving those who care about human rights. Yet fromKosovo to Iraq, military interventions have gone disastrously wrong.In this groundbreaking new book, Conor Foley explores how the doctrineof humanitarian intervention has been used to allow states to invadeother nations in the name of human rights. Drawing on his ownexperience of working in over a dozen conflict and post-conflict zones,Foley shows how the growing influence of international law has beenused to override the sovereignty of the poorest countries in the world.The Thin Blue Line describes how in the last twenty years humanitarianism has emerged as amultibillion dollar industry that has played a leading role in defininghumanitarian crises, and shaping the foreign policy of Westerngovernments and the United Nations. Yet, too often, this has beeninformed by myths and assumptions that rest on an ill-informedpost-imperial arrogance. Movements set up to show solidarity with thepowerless and dispossessed have ended up betraying them instead.

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The thin blue line between ‘humanitarianism’ and war
Conor Foley’s account of how human rights violations became a justification for launching wars reminds us of the need for a political critique of
interventionism. Unfortunately, this isn’t it.

Review: The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War

User Review  - Tinea - Goodreads

This book was kind of a confusing mess. In some ways, the jumbled nature of Foley's discussion reflected the problems he was writing about. International law tries to apply universal principles to ... Read full review


Human Rights and Humanitarians
Humanitarian Interventions

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About the author (2008)

A humanitarian aid worker, Conor Foley has been employed by a variety of human rights and humanitarian organizations, including Liberty, Amnesty International and the UNHCR, in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Colombia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Liberia, Northern Uganda, the Caucasus and Bosnia-Herzegovina. His books include Combating Torture.