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Iraq War Cost
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No Intervention in Syria

If after the debacles in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya (dare I say Vietnam?) some people still want the U.S. government to intervene — further — in the war inside Syria (but fueled by outsiders), we must conclude, not that they can’t learn the lessons of recent history, but that they won’t because doing so would be contrary to their assorted political, ideological, and material interests.

It is quite clear that the U.S. military is powerless to make things better in Syria. That’s right. For all the trillions spent on the national-security state and global empire, the United States stands as a pitiful giant on the Middle East stage. Sure, it could increase the bloodshed on the ground and perhaps even cause the release of chemical agents. Indeed, it could even turn the dominant al-Qaeda-related rebels, some of them the same jihadists the U.S. government fought in Iraq, into a better-armed force. As the New York Times reports,
Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government. 
Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.
Professor Stephen Zunes adds, “Even the so-called ‘moderate’ Free Syrian Army consists of literally hundreds of separate armed militias, some of which are quite radical, without a central command.”

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