The president said that by not sending ground forces to the Middle East over the last few years, he had saved 100 lives per month and many billions of dollars. The math is odd, but as long as he’s at it, let me cite the casualty that’s in plain sight: the straw man he slayed.
What was widely proposed was something else --establishing a no-fly zone to ground Bashar al-Assad’s gunships and maybe taking a shot or two at a key government installation. Had that been done early on, then a number Obama did not mention might have been avoided: upward of 300,000 Syrian deaths, not to mention a refugee crisis of such magnitude (4 million people) that it has stirred the sleeping dog of European fascism.
Obama should take no pride in a policy that has allowed the Syria situation to get totally out of control. But when it comes to doing nothing — or as little as possible — the president has plenty of company. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a genius masquerading as an ignoramus, proposes an “America-first foreign policy.”
“America First” was the name of a 1940s isolationist organization — and Cruz has chosen well. When it comes to Libya, for instance, he would have left Moammar Gaddafi in power. At the recent Republican presidential debate, he said that the United States and its allies toppled Gadd afi “because they wanted to promote democracy.”
Wrong. While there’s nothing particularly sinful about promoting democracy, that’s not why the United States acted in Libya. It did so because Gaddafi had vowed to massacre Libyan insurgents in Benghazi. The United Nations urged a military intervention , and so, significantly, did the Arab League. Cruz, I take it, would have let Gaddafi — a psychopath — kill to his heart’s content.