The Thin Blue Line by Conor Foley
How Humanitarianism Went to War

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Synopsis

The idea that we should “do something” to help those suffering in far-off places is the main impulse driving those who care about human rights. Yet from Kosovo to Iraq, military interventions have gone disastrously wrong.

In this groundbreaking new book, Conor Foley explores how the doctrine of humanitarian intervention has been used to allow states to invade other nations in the name of human rights. Drawing on his own experience of working in over a dozen conflict and post-conflict zones, Foley shows how the growing influence of international law has been used 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 a multibillion dollar industry that has played a leading role in defining humanitarian crises, and shaping the foreign policy of Western governments and the United Nations. Yet, too often, this has been informed by myths and assumptions that rest on an ill-informed post-imperial arrogance. Movements set up to show solidarity with the powerless and dispossessed have ended up betraying them instead.
 

About Conor Foley

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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.
 
Published October 17, 2008 by Verso. 266 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Thin Blue Line

Kirkus Reviews

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Foley calls for a return to the traditional principles of humanitarian aid work—independence, impartiality and neutrality—as well as a more pragmatic approach to the issue of intervention and recognition of the limitations of humanitarian aid’s ability to address the problem of inequalities of we...

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The New York Times

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Two books discuss the humanitarian “responsibility to protect.”

Dec 14 2008 | Read Full Review of The Thin Blue Line: How Human...

The Guardian

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Aid worker Foley conducts a fascinating and important analysis of recent wars and disasters around the world - Kosovo, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Darfur et al - and the politics and practicalities of human rights and humanitarian workers on the scene.

Jan 10 2009 | Read Full Review of The Thin Blue Line: How Human...

Bookmarks Magazine

Drawing on his own experience of working in over a dozen conflict and post-conflict zones, Foley shows how the growing influence of international law has been used to override the sovereignty of the poorest countries in the world. The Thin Blue Line describes how in the last twent...

Dec 14 2008 | Read Full Review of The Thin Blue Line: How Human...

Socialist Review

But his book is a counterblast to the B-52 liberals and former lefties who lined up with Bush and Blair to back the invasion of Iraq on "human rights" grounds: "In April 2006 Britain's defence secretary, John Reid, appeared to endorse the US government's policy of denying the protections of th...

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