For instance, the youthful pundits and activists who shouted for war against Iraq and denounced as defeatists and traitors those who wanted to end the occupation should have visited armed forces recruiting stations to offer their help. When then United Nations ambassador Madeleine Albright asked General Colin Powell, "What are you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can't use it?,” he should have offered her a top position in the about-to-be-formed Second Chance Brigade.
So it is with the Greek Chorus loudly chanting to send bombers over or troops into Syria. The more fervid the support and impassioned the claim, the greater the responsibility to enlist. Early in the U.S. Civil War, the most fervent advocates for battle actually formed military units. They were expected to lead in combat. It is a practice that should be resurrected.
There is no good answer to Syria. The suppression of peaceful demonstrators and incipient civil war is a tragedy, as is violent war, brutal repression and social conflict in many other nations. If several thousand dead in Syria requires a headlong rush to war, will America ever be at peace?
And maintaining the peace for this nation—protecting this people—is the U.S. government’s highest priority. The government has the greatest responsibility to its own citizens. It is time to say no to more unnecessary wars. If some people can’t wait to start another one, they should be the ones to fight it.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire (Xulon).