Next week Congress can do far more than stop a feckless Tomahawk barrage on a small country which is already a graveyard of civil war and sectarian slaughter. By voting “no” it can trigger the end of the American Imperium—-five decades of incessant meddling, bullying and subversion around the globe which has added precious little to national security, but left America fiscally exhausted and morally diminished.
Indeed, the tragedy of this vast string of misbegotten interventions—from the 1953 coup against Mossedegh in Iran through the recent bombing campaign in Libya —-is that virtually none of them involved defending the homeland or any tangible, steely-eyed linkages to national security. They were all rooted in ideology—that is, anti-communism, anti-terrorism, humanitarianism, R2Pism, nation-building, American exceptionalism. These were the historic building blocks of a failed Pax Americana. Now the White House wants authorization for the last straw: Namely, to deliver from the firing tubes of U.S. naval destroyers a dose of righteous “punishment” that has no plausible military or strategic purpose. By the President’s own statements the proposed attack is merely designed to censure the Syrian regime for allegedly visiting one particularly horrific form of violence on its own citizens.