The Syrian Disconnect

The longer the Syria debate goes on in the United States, the clearer and clearer it becomes that it is not about Syria at all. The American public is simply exhausted and has little or no appetite for yet another intervention, particularly one where it is self-evident that the commander in chief is at best a reluctant supporter.

Yet, there has been a recent rash of stories essentially complaining that the American public’s leeriness toward a Syria intervention is somehow illegitimate. The Washington Post’s chief art critic argued that Americans are simply too inured to images of violence against children and had grown uncaring. In those same pages, author Sebastian Junger insisted that Americans simply don’t understand that force is needed to end such messy wars and that humanitarian interventions almost always go swimmingly well.

Yet, as someone who reluctantly supports an intervention in Syria, I believe firmly we need to be much more honest about the potential perils of such a course — and in doing so give the American public far for more credit for its collective wisdom.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.