US failure in Syria: “There’s only so long you can polish that turd.”

This would be be funny if it weren’t pathetic. My friend Nancy Youssef just reports what happened when a top US general testified before Congress on US policy toward ISIS in Syria. Then she just quotes an expert who sums it all up with that brilliant quote: “There’s only so long you can polish that turd.”

Gen. Lloyd Austin

Gen. Lloyd Austin

At the end of this painful article, you’ll see some suggestions by Senators about what to do instead of training fighters to confront ISIS. Nancy notes that none of them will work.

How long is it going to take before the US realizes that its military interventions are usually counter-productive, especially in this region? Probably too long. The Obama administration’s main effort to resolve a conflict by other means–Iran–triggered hysterical opposition from worst-case scenario promoters who refuse to consider the obvious truth–their alternative, war, will make the situation worse. Their scare tactics could even cause the failure of the Iran accord, and then they can say “I told you so”– as if removing all restraints on Iran, the result of such a failure, is what they really want.

But the real problem remains the outdated, outmoded and wrong-headed assumption by most Americans, and most American policy makers, that the US can just plug in some troops, or “advisers”–and international conflicts will fold like a neatly ironed tablecloth. There never was an era like that, and even if there had been, it certainly doesn’t work now.

You’ve heard me say and seen me write that the Mideast is going through a historic realignment that will take many years to shake out. This has nothing to do with the US or the West, except for humanitarian issues, like the migrant crisis now facing Europe. The $500 million that the US budgeted toward training fighters for Syria could be much better spent on humanitarian relief programs. That’s all the West can do now, while sitting back, watching the Mideast upheaval and protecting its own security.

Chances are you’ll see me writing that again. And again.

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