I want to end where I started tonight. I want to go back and remind you and me both of just how we get into a war.
It’s beautifully clear, just a snap really. What we do is allow ourselves to be sold on two basic steps. Yes, this dance is a two-step.
Step one: Tell ourselves that we have to get into it. That if we don’t fight, it means bloodshed. Then, of course, get into it and there’s more. Why? Because we get into it by shooting and killing people. Not just military people, all kinds of people who happen to be living next to a mobile missile launcher or some other defensive weapon.
Why? Because it’s difficult, I’d suspect, to carry out a “no-fly” campaign unless we’re able to command the skies ourselves. That means being able to carry through an effective campaign to knock out these anti-aircraft weapons. Before we go in, let’s make sure we aren’t going to put our pilots in danger of getting shot down over Damascus.
We’ve heard before what a “cakewalk” it was to go to war. It isn’t. It certainly wasn’t in Iraq.
Step two: Here’s the second old trick. Put out the word that we absolutely must go to war.
But before you go for that, remember how you felt last time when you realized that “the absolute must reason” turned out to be something different.
We may be able to change the course of that civil war in Syria but we’re not likely to be able to pick the kind of winner we’d like.
I fear these wars because the only sure result is that we, the United States, will once again being thousands of Islamic people on international television. I don’t believe that’s a way to quell the Jihad. Every war becomes a war poster for the other side. They know it. We know it.
This time, let’s be smart.