09/11/2013 12:05 pm ET Updated Nov 11, 2013

Shakespeare -- War With the 'Unknown' Is Futile -- An Argument Against Intervention in Syria

There is the old cliché, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. In King Lear, his treacherous daughter, Goneril, ironically speaks a great truth, even though she is using it to incite the death of her father.


This is practice, Gloucester:
By the law of arms thou wast not bound to answer
An unknown opposite; thou art not vanquish'd,
But cozen'd and beguiled.

Translated into more modern terms...

"The law of war is that you don't have to attack
an enemy you don't understand or recognize.
You were not deceitful, but you have been tricked."

Sound familiar?

Our unkown opposite would appear to be the Middle East -- a region of such ancient, complex, religious and tribal conflict that we are incapable of sorting out the insanity and confusion that exists.

This might easily describe our mission in Iraq, seeking the WMDs that did not materialize. In the evil Goneril's pithy remark, she might have wished to hasten Lear's demise, but Lear was also at fault -- overly desiring love and admiration to the point of infantilism. I am quite patriotic, but I'm also starting to understand why Europe feels like we are children, trying to make everyone like us by poking our naïve heads into problems we cannot solve. They are the weary, dissipated cynics; we are the babes attempting to solve our parent's intractable problems, (codependent much?) rather than growing up and protecting ourselves. The Middle East is like a pack of wild dogs guarding its resources, while America strives to be the benevolent leader of the pack. Well, dogs can be trained -- nations, perhaps not.

Often politicians are known for lying, as great artists are recognized by revealing the truth, rather than propagandizing or lecturing.

If the arts are not your thing, perhaps science can explain why there is a near zero percent chance of "disciplining" the leaders of these countries with "strategic" strikes. While studying the DSM-V you will find the "medical" definitions of these despots as Narcissistic, Borderline, and Histrionic -- personality disorders that are almost certainly untreatable, as the subjects feel they are in the right at all times. They do not seek help, as any conflicts encountered are always someone else's fault. These psychopaths (either private individuals or leaders) cannot be reasoned with; they lack empathy and basic humanity. It is thought that these qualities are inborn and brought out through emotional triggers. (Hitler getting rejected as an artist might have strengthened his borderline tendencies.) But there is always something in life's experiences to set off maniacal behavior in these people, as we do not exist in a vacuum.

Finally there are some in the U.S. and abroad who believe that the West has much darker motives for going in than the "crimes against humanity" posed by the chemical warfare, as reported to have taken place. Those people (often the extreme right or left) believe that the only reason our leaders want to enter this conflict is to merely position ourselves at an advantage. Call out the conspiracy theorists, but please leave our men and women out of this intractable mess and prepare a strong defense for our own country. We might need it.