Speaking of stomach-churning, you might want to take a look at Robert Kagan’s Washington Post op-ed on the conditions under which the United States should use force in its dealings with other nations. Then again, you might not. Here’s his opening paragraph:
Was the Iraq war the greatest strategic error in recent decades, as some pundits have suggested recently? The simple answer is no. That honor belongs to the failure to take action against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden before the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001. And if one wants to go back a few decades further, it was the failure to stop Hitler in Europe and to deter war with Japan, failures that dwarf both Iraq and Vietnam in terms of their tragic consequences and the cost in lives and treasure.
I’ll answer the question. We should only use force when it is just to do so and all other alternatives have been exhausted. None of the examples he cites meets those criteria.
Not wanting to take the measures short of using force that would have obviated the use of force does not not mean that you have exhausted all alternatives. It means you just don’t like the alternatives.
If you can subject the choice to a cost-benefit analysis, you should not use force. Using force under the circumstances is unjust and immoral. Not to mention illegal if it hasn’t been authorized by the UN Security Council.