Is David Brooks Pushing For Another Vietnam? – OpEd


A few years ago, New York Times columnist David Brooks wanted the U.S. government to wave its magic wand and turn the Syrian civil war into a Vietnam for Iran:

We should be trying to turn the Syrian civil war into Iran’s Vietnam. We should make them waste money and effort trying to back their client…I’m thinking that maybe it’s time for a more active U.S. role. I have no clue how to do that.

Brooks was apparently modest enough to admit that he had “no clue” as to how the U.S. should mold Syria to achieve such a nefarious goal.

Well, a few years have now gone by, and Brooks has experienced his eureka moment! He apparently tuned into a warmongering speech from Hillary Clinton and now (at long last) has a clue:

Clinton…gestured to the reality that you can’t really deal with ISIS unless you are also willing to deal with Assad. Assad is not some secondary threat who we can deal with after we’ve tamed the ISIS monster. Assad created the failed state and the power vacuum that ISIS was able to fill.

Some of Clinton’s specific prescriptions were a little too limited and Obamaesque for my taste (she didn’t even call for more American Special Operations forces to improve the bombing campaigns, though she said she would be open to it).

Aha! Brooks, who wanted to turn Syria into Iran’s Vietnam, has changed to turning it into America’s Second Vietnam! Brooks wants American troops in there fighting both ISIS and Assad. He’s come to the conclusion that it is America that should “waste money and effort”!

But wait! There’s more:

The grand strategy of American policy in the Middle East, therefore, should be to do what we can to revive and reform Arab nations, to help them become functioning governing units.

The “grand strategy”?

America has destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, leaving them in virtual chaos with nothing resembling “functioning governing units.” Syria needs to be number four on the lucky list?

That begins with stepped-up military pressure on ISIS. But it also means going hard on Assad, creating no-fly zones for sanctuaries for Syrian refugees to limit his power, ratcheting up pressure on Iran and Russia to force his departure.

Brooks no longer wants a Vietnam for Iran, but a second one for the U.S. In addition to American troops, he wants the U.S. to create a no-fly zone in Syria that would put America in a direct confrontation with Russia (a country that has a nuclear arsenal that’s just as large as America’s).

It’s safe to say, that despite Brooks’ Clintonian awakening, he still has no clue about Syria.

Reprinted with permission from

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