Just a note to say that while I'm glad the president has decided to get congressional authorization --- it is a necessary concession to democratic principles --- it does not change my calculus about the wisdom of bombing Syria. I've thought a lot about this since the war with Iraq, when I made arguments repeatedly about "norms" and just war theory and constitutional requirements and the necessity of UN approval. And I realized later that it was all a dodge on a certain level. Yes, international norms are important as are our adherence to treaties and constitutional obligations. But they don't trump the fact that it is unwise to take certain actions even if all those conditions are met. I do not think it makes sense to bomb Syria on the merits, regardless of who approves it. I think the US is needlessly running into a buzzsaw and may very likely make things worse. In my view, the correct approach for the US is energetic diplomacy with an eye toward pulling Russia and China away from their positions and getting the other Middle Eastern countries to put pressure on Assad. We have become dependent on the idea that bombing and killing is the only way to affect change despite the evidence that it doesn't work any better than using other approaches. The US has a lot of power and influence aside from an ability to launch cruise missiles. I think we've gotten tremendously uncreative. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Yes and yes!
Here's Digby's wonderful view on today's events....