A Lincoln Brigade for Syria: It Is Time to Say No to More Unnecessary Wars.
The sofa samurai and ivory-tower warriors are in full war cry over Syria. Washington should do something! It’s time to recreate the Lincoln Brigade so they can go to war without dragging America into yet another unnecessary conflict.
When the conventional wisdom takes over in Washington, the crescendo can swell to epic proportions. So it has over Syria.
For instance, the so-called Three Amigos—senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman, who have rarely found a country they didn’t want to bomb or invade—naturally wanted war early and often in Syria. Rising Republican star Senator Marco Rubio recently complained that the Obama administration’s demand that Assad go “has not been coupled with action.”
At the other side of the political spectrum, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen fulminated over America’s failure to act. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof expressed shock that a Nobel Peace Prize winner had not involved America in another war. Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution argued that pundits should concentrate on advocating war, not worrying about the details: “I’m pretty sure it’s not the job of civilian think tanks to prepare a full, detailed battle plan for Syria.”
Absent from this advocacy is any belief that practicality matters, that prudence should influence policy, that going to war should be based on something more than feelings. Who cares about the consequences of war? Just do it!
We went through a similar exercise less than a decade ago. In the run-up to the Iraq war, opposition was drowned out with a similar crescendo of outraged claims of imminent threats draped with humanitarian rhetoric. Opponents of war were accused of being pro-Saddam Hussein. Armchair generals promised a “cakewalk” that would drain the swamp, create a model democracy, extend U.S. influence and cause the lion to lie down with the lamb.