Syria and The Case For Isolationism

War is Hell: why are you trying to make it convenient?
Last night, President Obama made a formal appeal for the American people to send their children overseas, so they can butcher weird-talking people for a specific period of time. For global stability and Democracy. Maybe.

I thought this President was about draw-downs and approval from the international community? As far as I can tell, a prospective “limited engagement” with Syria has neither of these things. Besides, the Syrian civil war has been on-going since 2011, why the sudden interest in this conflict?

Because Assad definitely-maybe had people killed in a specific manner.

“On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits, a crime against humanity and a violation of the laws of war.” –First Citizen Barack Obama, Sept 10 2013

“The world?” Maybe if you had pasted pictures of those poor gassed Syrian children on Facebook or Twitter.

Most people haven’t seen these atrocities, which are a few mouse clicks away, and that’s because most people don’t care. Fact of the matter is, more American voters are interested in pictures of Justin Beiber humping a wrecking ball.

Not that such apathy was unforeseen, tamen usque recurret and all that. I digress.

According to our President, Assad’s definite-maybe use of chemical weapons has earned his regime the American bombing of disapproval… After a few weeks of political dallying.

Let us consider some more of our hope and change in action:

“If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them.”

…Uh, you’re giving this speech because someone definitely-maybe used the weapons in the first place. Assad thought twice and still gassed some rebels.

Also, melodramatic appeals to tyranny emerging in the absence of a schizophrenic Western Democracy fall flat when one begins to think the latter is more dangerous than the former.


Ezra Klein is on the right track when he points out that not once in this speech does Obama propose any goal or definitive impact resulting from us blowing up some foreign people. That’s because there isn’t one. The best result we can expect from attacking Syria is that Syrians will continue to kill Syrians.

Klein is also correct in pointing out the perverse nature of focusing on the manner of death for a few hundred when the current death toll in Syria is over 100,000; Democrats are supposed to be the equalists, remember?

It is also sad when you come away from this debacle viewing a foreign leader more highly than your own.


Most Americans have been raised to see “isolationism” as a grave error, leading to extremists and mass murders. I see our recent history of “anti-isolationism,” the resulting extremism and mass murders, and I see no improvement. Afghanistan and Iraq have not been improved from the wars and occupation; if anything, they are well on their way to becoming outposts for Iran and Russia. How has Libya been improved with the removal of Gaddafi?

You should ask: when is war going to be about the interests of America again? When is America going to sacrifice the lives of its children for America, and not for Israel or some vague international platitude?

Until the West ceases to embrace this sort of insanity, I see isolationism as the only moral or intelligent choice.