Our Military Intervention Record in the Middle East Is “Dismal”

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John McCain went to Syria recently and, among other things, apparently ended up posing for a photograph with rebels who had kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims. I think Joe Klein draws the right conclusion:

I don’t blame McCain for this. It’s hard to advance a trip into rebel territory….The point is: We just don’t know these places well enough to go over and draw grand conclusions about policy. In a way, McCain’s trip is a perfect metaphor for the problem of involving ourselves with the Syrian rebels. We may be siding with the greater evil. We may be throwing fuel on a fire that could consume the region. Our track record when it comes to such things is dismal.

Obviously McCain didn’t do this deliberately. But he’s been insisting for years that we can tell the good guys from the bad guys in Syria, and this incident suggests that we can’t. Not reliably, anyway. Even McCain can’t. As Klein says, our track record on this stuff is pretty dismal. President Obama is right to be very, very cautious about committing American military aid to this fight.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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