American intervention has broken pottery all over the Middle East. Every time the U.S. attempts to repair its last accident, it increases and spreads the mess. It is time for a different approach. One in which Washington does not attempt to micromanage the affairs of other nations. In which Washington practices humility. This would not be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. Economic and cultural ties benefit all. Political cooperation can help meet global problems. Humanitarian needs are varied and manifold. Military action sometimes is necessary, but only rarely -- certainly far less often than presumed by Washington.
The decision to abandon the policy of aggressive containment, and launch a war to overthrow Saddam has led us to the precipice of what we had been attempting to avoid for a quarter of a century -- the breakup of Iraq, and dangerous instability for the foreseeable future, including the distinct possibility of a terrorist safe haven in the Sunni tribal lands. And, whether we agree with it or not, the U.S. will forever be blamed for all of the negative consequences. Relitigating the past is obviously painful for those who were so terribly wrong, and whose actions led to what is arguably the most egregious foreign policy error in the history of our country. But it is necessary as we consider the way ahead.
From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War, facile and wildly inaccurate comparisons between foreign adversaries and Adolf Hitler have served the interests of politicians hell-bent on propelling the United States into war. Often, those politicians succeeded. The carnage and the endless suffering have been vast.