Friday, October 09, 2015

Killing people causes problems

When it comes to questions whether to use military force, sometimes the best choice is to do nothing. In fact, it is almost always the best choice. I don't understand why politicians and commentators have such an abiding belief that the U.S. military can be used to stabilize a place. There have been a lot of military interventions in the past half century and very few have resulting in stability (and in the few that have "worked", like Bosnia and Kosovo, things are still not all that stable, plus and there are a lot of factors other than the military that are arguably as responsible for what stability there is). The record of U.S. interventions in terms of helping the people the U.S. claims to be supposedly acting to help is just terrible.

So when I read Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates writing that "The Russian definition of success contains no element of concern for the dismal situation of the Syrian people." Really, Bob and Condi? I see no element of concern, certainly no sense of responsibility, (at least on Rice's part) for the dismal situation that your war left the Iraqi people in. (And the Syrian people too! While the Syrian civil war did not directly grow out of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, ISIS did, and they are arguably the worst part of that conflict). Of all people, those two should know that not using military force is often the best move.