Let’s hope for an American defeat over Syria

Let’s hope for an American defeat over Syria

It’s time to walk away from the deadly, irrational myth of American might

The Syria crisis deepens not by the day but by the hour, and it delivers us to the threshold of a reality that will cause some to quake and bring others relief. One must hope for an American defeat. To turn back the White House’s rogue-nation plan to shell Syria, which risks putting a match to the oil in every Middle Eastern well, is to cross this threshold into a new space. In this defeat, if Americans are fortunate enough to have it forced upon them, lies none other than victory.

What does that mean, Mr. Columnist? You’re going purple on us.

It means this. The U.S. has a chance now to conquer an old, compulsive claim to stand-tall world leadership that makes no fit with history, sound judgment, or (at this point) the facts in the morning’s papers, such as one can decipher them. These chances do not come often. Take this one and we will remove from our worldly relations an element of intrusive irrationality that has claimed millions of lives during our “American century” and proven time and again to be dangerous—as it is now.

“Why are we doing this?” is the incessant question this week. I point people toward our myths, a mistrust of thought in favor of sentiment and belief, an abiding addiction to violence, a suspicion that the world plots against our plentitude, an obsession with the grail of “total security,” a neurotic fear of weakness—or worse, effeminacy—and (scarcely least) an infantile trust in some guiding hand of Providence.

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