On developments in Syria, this caught my eye:
By formallydesignating Syria a civil war, the International Committee of the Red Cross may have inadvertently revealed an uncomfortable prospect for the country’s future: Civil wars are typically protracted and bloody as both sides fight with their backs to the proverbial wall. And they rarely result in the complete vanquishing of either combatant party; far more common are political and territorial compromises that redefine the state.
I have no idea what that would look like. NO CLUE. Do you?
One of the things that continues to infuriate me about our punditry (not so much the journalists in the region or even their editors, removed as they may be) is the tendency to talk about the Middle East as if it is another planet and the customs and people there strange to our human ways. “Why do they hate us” is only a terrorist attack away from being written again, always, forever, and … um, look, we can argue all day long about justification for this or that bit of foreign policy but can we at least all get together on the concept that human beings are human beings and we react in fairly predictable ways?
When I was editing the Feith book, I kept telling my boss that it was like he and his buddies hadn’t read any recent history. “Forget recent history,” quoth the boss, a much smarter fellow than me. “All you have to read is Shakespeare.” Go back even further, the Bible. Go back further than that. Revenge, resentment, frustration boiling over into violence, it isn’t like we don’t know how these things work.
It’s not justifying any of them to say that they work the same everywhere, and if you say you would never, or you couldn’t, or you don’t, then you’re in a much more advanced stage of kidding yourself than even you think.
ps. Countdown to some veteran of Operation Enduring Cheeto saying we need to go over to Syria and “turn the whole place to glass” starts in 3 … 2 …