I understand the impulse for America to “do something” in Syria. I grasp the logic behind funding some of the militias fighting Bashar Assad, even if America’s history of funding militias may be propelling Afghanistan and Iraq toward civil war.

But there’s something disgraceful about our tendency to wax moralistic about preventing suffering in countries in which we have not yet intervened while we brazenly ignore the suffering we have helped cause in the countries in which we have. If we’re going to debate intervention in Syria, let’s also debate intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, countries where we have accrued grave moral obligations, obligations that don’t end just because we’ve decided it’s easier to focus our attention someplace else.

Peter Beinart, arguing Americans prefer cleaning up the messes of others rather than their own

Posted on 5/13/2013
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