'What I Am Opposed to Is a Dumb War'

By James Fallows

"What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by [officials] to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."

This was of course then-State Senator Barack Obama in the fall of 2002, in the speech that ultimately made him president since it allowed him to claim that he had shown better foreign-policy judgment than the far more experienced Hillary Clinton. 

Obviously the situations of Iraq and Syria differ in a hundred ways, including the cynicism factor that young Obama rightly complained about. But, to distill the previous very long post, President Obama seems inexplicably to be positioning himself for a dumb war. A war with the highest moral aims -- saving innocents, pushing evil-doers, reinforcing a "norm" -- but with no backing from our major allies, no attainable strategic goals, no evident support from the U.S. public, and no apparent attempt to make Congress share responsibility for whatever the consequences turn out to be. 

What I am opposed to is a dumb war.

 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/08/what-i-am-opposed-to-is-a-dumb-war/279228/