Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Iraq And A Hard Case

Chait is right that anyone on the left who supported the Iraq war has now gone overboard to atone from their sins of 15 years ago.  John Cole over at Balloon Juice is apoplectic over the impending strikes in Syria.  To him, it's Iraq all over again, and since he supported that and regrets it, he's dead set against Syria.

And Chait is also right that Libya worked at what it was intended to do.  It stopped a wholesale humanitarian nightmare, should Gaddafi have reached Benghazi and started slaughtering people by the thousands.  That doesn't mean Libya is now Switzerland, but it was never the goal to make it Switzerland.  It just wasn't allowed to be Rwanda.

I'm still not sure that the Assad regime purposefully used chemical weapons.  It could have been a unit commander with a wild hair up his ass, Ahmed D. Ripper. Today's report certainly suggests that - while it was governmental troops who launched the attack - there are serious gaps in our proof that Assad ordered the strikes.

But this isn't Iraq, unless we put boots on the ground, and that simply isn't happening.

Nor are we going to insure an end to the violence in Syria.

We are simply going to punish Assad for the use of chemical weapons and go home.

If there is to be a debate, it should be about whether we know that Assad's command ordered the strikes.  And if the answer is yes, we should launch punitive strikes.

But there is increasingly a consensus from certain precincts that A) the government is lying about this for some reason because they want to go to war and B) even if the government isn't lying it wouldn't make any difference anyway.

That's a closure of thought that I don't think is healthy.

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