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News Link • WAR: About that War

The Hubris of Attacking Syria

The U.S. government once believed in peace. Today, hardly a day goes by without someone proposing that Washington bomb, invade or occupy another nation. Matthew Brodsky targets Syria.

Not that Brodsky is alone. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has yet to find a war he doesn’t want to start, also has been beating the war drums against Damascus.

War is not just another policy option, an alternative to increasing foreign aid or imposing sanctions. It means sacrificing the lives of one’s citizens, wasting untold resources, unleashing death and destruction on other peoples, wrecking foreign societies, and triggering an unpredictable cascade of unintended and sometimes catastrophic consequences. Wars almost always turn out more costly than expected for everyone.

In short, there are more than enough reasons to make war a last resort to safeguard vital interests, not a first resort to advance lesser objectives.

Why attack Syria? Damascus is a nasty actor in the region but poses no threat to America. Although Brodsky complains that Syria obstructs U.S. objectives “with impunity,” that provides no case for war. After all, Washington’s foreign-policy goals are infinite: there is virtually no nation which does not interfere with one or another American of foreign-policy design. The U.S. often objects when another country merely decides to act in its own interest.


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