I hadn’t thought of it before in quite those terms

In a recent opinion piece appearing in the Washington Post, Andrew J. Bacevich points out that Syria is the fourteenth country in the Greater Middle East that the United States has “invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed” just since 1980.

Bacevich thinks this latest intervention is only likely to bring about more of the kind of political instability that has led to so much Islamic militancy in the first place. Once these things get started it’s very hard to get out without leaving a mess behind. As General Sir Philip Chetwode remarked in 1921, referring to British imperial policy in what was then Persia, “the habit of interfering with other people’s business and making what is euphoniously called ‘peace’ is like buggery; once you take to it, you cannot stop.”

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