Yet, here come the neocons, demanding we use military might in Syria and Iran, a huge country that makes Iraq look like a small province. Too many of these people have very short memories.
It will be increasingly difficult to find people who are able to justify the 10 years that the United States was embroiled in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. If our mission is to get rid of tyrants and dictators, as we did with Saddam Hussein, we will be at war until the end of time. Who will choose which one to go after next, and where will we get all the soldiers and money necessary?
It’s puzzling why so many people are so intent on war as a solution to mayhem abroad. Is it misguided patriotism — my country, right or wrong? Is it a fear of being seen as weak? Is it a lack of understanding of how devastating war is? Is it some kind of macho thing (although Hillary Clinton had it, too) that says I am brave and strong and right if I’m in favor of sending other people into battle?
The real question is: How do we fight evil in a world with nuclear weapons? The answer is to be found not in more killing and maiming but in economic sanctions, in diplomacy, in making clear that no country can go it alone or buck international disdain forever. That does not mean that war is never justified, but that it truly should be a last resort.
Obama is absolutely correct in stipulating that we will not go to war with Syria unless the bulk of the international community agrees that it is necessary. He is not a chicken, and this is not “Game of Thrones.”
Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986.