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Saturday, October 31, 2015

In Which We Feel Impending Dread

A small number of American troops will soon be on the ground in Syria.  If you're keeping track--well, good luck.  But as I understand it, the Americans will coordinate with Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State.  The Kurds, though, are also fighting the Assad regime, an ally of Russia.  Russia started dropping bombs on Syria a couple of weeks ago, ostensibly also targeting the Islamic State, yet, strangely, causing major damage primarily in areas controlled not by ISIS but by those battling Assad--in other words, dropping bombs on people who share the goals of the Kurds--whom American forces will be hanging out with.

So, yeah, no way this ends badly.

This decision has accomplished a minor miracle in Washington, uniting Republicans and Democrats, who both think it a bad idea.  Of course, they have different reasons.  Republicans feel that the troop deployment is "too little too late," and Democrats think it risks pushing the US down a "slippery slope into a hopeless war."  Clichés aside, both sides are kind of right.  I tend to side more with the "stay out of it" side, but I also think that these sort of half-measures--designed to show that the US is doing something while not getting hopelessly entangled--are doomed to accomplish pretty much nothing, except maybe get American soldiers killed.  To throw another cliché at the situation, "Go big, or go home."  And if those are the choices, Americans should really just go home.

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