Friday, September 12, 2014

I agree with Andrew Sullivan...

...and disagree with David Brooks. (Sorry, that was the best picture I could find of the two of them together.)

From Andrew's post on Monday, "Are We Being Baited?" (my emphasis):

And yet the two beheadings seem to have turned public and elite opinion in ways that none of this previous horror has. In a month, the discourse has shifted from WHETHER to counter ISIS to HOW to do so. In a month, everyone has agreed, it appears, that ISIS is a menace and that there has to be a US-led coalition to degrade and DEFEAT it. The slippery slope toward the logic of war – which would be, by any estimation, a mere continuation of the war begun in 2003 – has been so greased there seems barely any friction.
This is the striking new fact of America this fall: re-starting the war in Iraq is now something that does not elicit immediate and horrified rejection by the president or the Congress. The GOP is daring Obama to go all-in as GWB, Round Two.

I deeply distrust wars that are prompted by this kind of emotion, however justified the emotion may be.

And when these slick, cartoonish nihilists press buttons designed to generate a reaction that they can then leverage some more, THEY are pulling the strings, not us.

I await a full explanation of the actual, specific threat that ISIS poses TO THE U.S. that requires a declaration of war; I certainly expect that the president should go to the Senate for a declaration of war after a robust debate; and I want an airing of all the many unintended consequences of entering into that vortex again.

What is happening in Iraq right now isn’t a war of Islam against the West. It is Islam against itself. And by making it our war, we may simply be endorsing a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Brooks, meanwhile, says today:

No American president could allow a barbaric caliphate to establish itself in the middle of the Middle East.

Really? Yes we can. Of course we can. What else would you call Iran or Saudi Arabia?

Everybody needs to dial it down a notch. The United States contained Communism for seventy years without a "hot" war (except for Vietnam, which everyone agrees in hindsight was a mistake); we can contain radical Islam too.

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