We remember Iraq and Afghanistan. Senseless wars, without outcomes. We have some inkling of the complexities of the Syrian situation and the Middle East region. Shiites vs. Sunnis, Hezbollah vs. Al Qaeda. Violence without end. A no-win situation. What extreme Islamist religious groups will benefit from our military intervention in the long run?
The American people know it's a tight line, a fine line, not a "red line."
Nor did we like the implication that somehow we were less humanitarian than the president and his advisors about the use of chemical weapons. We were, and remain, outraged. But, we also hoped the president would be true to his word when he ran for reelection: explore options to war as forcefully as a military response. Putin one-upped him on that.
In a recent op ed piece in the NYT (15 September 2013), Frank Bruni spelled out in grisly detail "What War Means."
"Where did our thousands dead and wounded and maimed get us in Iraq and Afghanistan? Here are some other relevant figures. Our country sent more than two million men and women to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 6,500 of them are dead. Tens of thousands were physically injured, including some 1,500 amputees. Iraq and Afghanistan were minefields, literally and metaphorically, rife with improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s. They were easy places to lose a limb.