Why is war almost always an attractive option to the political class?
One reason is to increase our “influence” and “footprint” in the globe (i.e. kill people when they don’t submit to our wishes to set an example for others that they must submit to our wishes—except in cases when we do it to people like Gaddafi who did submit to our wishes). However, there is also domestic value in such a fight. Such actions abroad manipulate the public to favor a police state in the “homeland.”
Consider a simple scenario: a robber breaks into your home and steals your stuff. Obviously, the robber is evil.
But add to that scenario: What if you deliberately go to a known criminal, spit in his wife’s face, and leave your home address with him? He is a career thief. He shouldn’t break the law by robbing your house. But anyone looking at that scenario would tell you that you were unwise and contributed to your own suffering.
Add another element to the scenario: You don’t cause trouble but someone else does so, leaving your address behind so that the career thief thinks you did it. He is still a thief. His robbery is unjustified. But this other person who mistreated the thief’s wife is also responsible. It is no good for him to justify himself by saying that you should not blame him but only that evil thief who actually broke into your house. You would reply, “Yes, he’s a bad guy. So why did you get me entangled with him?”
We need to add one final element to this scenario: The man who spit in the face of the thief’s wife happens to be a salesman for a security firm that offers 24/7 electronic surveillance of your home with armed patrols checking on your house regularly. He shows up in the aftermath of the robbery to make a sale, without admitting to his behavior the day before.
So now the New York Times is reporting:
“The F.B.I. has increased its surveillance of Syrians inside the United States in response to concerns that a military strike against the government of President Bashar al-Assad could lead to terrorist attacks here or against American allies and interests abroad, according to current and former senior United States officials… The authorities are particularly concerned because Iran — one of Mr. Assad’s closest allies — has said there will be reprisals against Israel if the United States attacks Syria. The Iranians have also shown a willingness to sponsor terrorist attacks on American targets, according to the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing operation.”
Making war abroad requires the unleashing of the National domestic spying apparatus at home. I’m not for a moment denying that anyone who would commit real terrorist acts are evil. People who blow up buildings in the US are every bit as bad as, or worse than, men who order the launching of WMD from the safety of the Oval Office.