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(55,894 posts)
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 10:37 AM Aug 2013

Syria Isnít Iraq. Everything Isnít Iraq

Yes, I know. It's Jonathan Chait.

Syria Isn’t Iraq. Everything Isn’t Iraq.
By Jonathan Chait

The generation that came of age during World War II famously — and, in time, tragically — came to apply the formative lessons to every foreign-policy event that followed it. The generation that came of age during the Vietnam War, and then, more recently, the Iraq War, was imprinted with the opposite lessons. I’m not immune: My formative experience in college was the Gulf War and, soon after that, the eventual, successful interventions in the Balkans. (I have a cousin who is married to a Kosovar, whose husband was murdered by Serbian militants, and who was saved by the United States military.)

The merits of intervening in Syria strike me as both a closer call and a lower-stakes matter than what we think of as “major wars.” …… Attacking the Syrian regime won’t stop all future massacres of civilians, or even all chemical attacks on civilians, but it does strike, on balance, as better than doing nothing at all.

I’m continually struck by the ideological cleavage between myself and the Iraq War–vintage smart center-left writers, who generally agree with me on domestic policy but sharply diverge with me on foreign policy. Matthew Yglesias, for instance, regularly makes arguments against any kind of military intervention that impress other Iraq War–era neoliberals but strike me as insanely reductive. The arguments Yglesias poses today against a military strike against Syria eerily echo the arguments conservatives and libertarians make against any kind of domestic government intervention.

The argument for intervening in Libya was not that doing so would turn the country into a peaceful, Westernized democracy moving rapidly up the OECD rankings. It was that it would prevent an immediate, enormous massacre of civilians. Libya remains an ugly place; it would have been so regardless of whether NATO intervened. But the narrow, humanitarian goal that drove the U.S. to act was unambiguously accomplished without the larger dangers of mission creep that foes warned against. It’s telling that, rather than arguing that the overall costs exceeded the benefits, opponents are resorting to listing any bad things that have happened since.
An even worse argument is that, if we want to prevent the deaths of people in Third World countries, we should use humanitarian aid for things like anti-malarial nets rather than military force against people who are massacring them.

snip As I said, it is not an easy call. But I continue to be amazed that some of my younger liberal friends find it so easy to dismiss any weighing of pros and cons by venturing arguments structurally identical to ones that, in a domestic context, they recognize as absurd.



(53,475 posts)
1. It isn't North Korea either. Hmmm. What's different.
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 10:46 AM
Aug 2013

Oh yeah, oil. If only those poor bastards in North Korea were sitting on oilfields.



(1,881 posts)
2. Yeah, well, its far far FAR more complicated than that
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 10:49 AM
Aug 2013

Its a cop-out to say its about oil only.

Harmony Blue

(3,978 posts)
16. It does change who profits from it though
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 12:20 PM
Aug 2013

the Russians are keeping close tabs on that region for that very reason and they the Turks also have a vested interest.


(22,541 posts)
18. Who do you think Syria got the chemical weapons and
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 01:18 PM
Aug 2013

delivery system from? Russia.

This is about way more than a single chemical weapons attack.

This is about a major world power expanding into the ME, selling weapons in the region to countries who use them against their own citizens. This is a balance of power issue that has the potential to turn into a disaster if not addressed in some way.

Please note, I am not recommending a specific response. Just that a response of some kind is needed.

As far as oil is concerned, Russia is a partner in the pipeline and has at least 5 energy corporations in Syria. They have billions invested there. We don't.



(45,319 posts)
6. That figures, because they said Iraq was not Vietnam, not everything is Vietnam!
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 11:13 AM
Aug 2013

Why Iraq and Vietnam have nothing whatsoever in common.
By Christopher Hitchens

No, Iraq Is Not Vietnam

There are, in fact, many reasons why Iraq is nothing like Vietnam or any other U.S. experience, but both sides in the American debate over the war have chosen to ignore them. For the antiwar left, Iraq has always recalled the great American trauma of Vietnam, a misguided war of choice that ended badly after a decade of pointless savagery; for the war's advocates on the right, Iraq recalled the great American triumph of rebuilding postwar Japan and Germany. Yes, it is hard to imagine that they were serious, but it wasn't simply PR, either — some of the policy documents used by the U.S. occupation administration in Baghdad were based on policies used in the Allied occupation of Germany.



(4,238 posts)
8. No, it's not Iraq
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 11:20 AM
Aug 2013

The terrorists arrived in Iraq after our invasion. They're already on the ground in Syria, waiting for us to do the job for them so they can turn their weapons on us.



(114,904 posts)
11. that's a terribly weak argument. In any case, so what
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 11:41 AM
Aug 2013

if it's not Iraq. That's hardly justification for military strikes against Syria. Chait used the same argument for intervention in libya. Look how well that turned out.

Chait is a war cheering asswipe who supported Iraq and Libya

He's incapable of learning from his own very public mistakes. Moron.

Fuck that war mongering idiot.

woo me with science

(32,139 posts)
12. I was about to reply to this ridiculous swill,
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 11:45 AM
Aug 2013

but you said it so well that I am still sitting here savoring your words.

woo me with science

(32,139 posts)
17. Bwah!
Wed Aug 28, 2013, 12:51 PM
Aug 2013

Did you know Moscow has a new beltway, inside the main one? The main beltway is called Moscow Ring Road.

The new one is called "Third Ring Road."

True story.

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