Now more than ever: “US Military Should Get Out of the Middle East.”

Hama Rules, 1982.

It isn’t minimizing the horror of chemical weapons to offer a reminder that there is a thing called Assad-Vu in Syria: they’ve all been here before.

1982 Hama massacre

I’ve been around for 12 presidents (yes, a few months of Eisenhower, too), split between seven Republicans and five Democrats, and while they may seem to have little in common, most have seemed quite willing to bomb things. This might constitute something of a trend.

Journalist Phillip M. Bailey‏ won last night’s local Internet with this:

Now we get to watch #Dems and #GOP switch their positions on #Syria airstrikes.


US Military Should Get Out of the Middle East, by Jeffrey D. Sachs (Common Dreams)

It’s time to end US military engagements in the Middle East. Drones, special operations, CIA arms supplies, military advisers, aerial bombings — the whole nine yards. Over and done with. That might seem impossible in the face of ISIS, terrorism, Iranian ballistic missiles, and other US security interests, but a military withdrawal from the Middle East is by far the safest path for the United States and the region. That approach has instructive historical precedents.

America has been no different from other imperial powers in finding itself ensnared repeatedly in costly, bloody, and eventually futile overseas wars. From the Roman empire till today, the issue is not whether an imperial army can defeat a local one. It usually can, just as the United States did quickly in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The issue is whether it gains anything by doing so. Following such a “victory,” the imperial power faces unending heavy costs in terms of policing, political instability, guerrilla war, and terrorist blowback.

Terrorism is a frequent consequence of imperial wars and imperial rule. Local populations are unable to defeat the imperial powers, so they impose high costs through terror instead.