Traumatized by the image of U.S. troops being dragged dead through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993, Washington declined to intervene in the mass killings in Rwanda a year later.
With those hundreds of thousands of deaths fresh in its memory, the West did intervene in Bosnia when concentration camp-style images suggested that genocide was going on there.
Any of those decisions could have been right or wrong on their own merits — the critical thing is that they must have been made on their own merits.
Somalia is not Rwanda. Neither one is Bosnia. Iraq is not Afghanistan.
For that matter, David Cameron is not Tony Blair and Barack Obama is not George W. Bush.
Difficult as it may be, policymakers must not rely on historical examples because every case is unique.
It’s intellectually dishonest to say the West shouldn’t bomb Syria because Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction; it’s naive to say it should bomb because bombing Libya helped dislodge Muammar Gadhafi.
Syrian evidence and policy must be considered solely on their own merits.
The story of the boy who cried wolf is a caution not to raise false alarms, but it also contains an admonishment for the villagers who didn’t check the facts when it turned out there really was a wolf.
As usual, Mark Twain put it best:
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there, lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
It was rather beautiful; the way he put her insecurities to sleep. The way he dove into her eyes and starved all the fears and tasted all the dreams she kept coiled beneath her bones.
“You know what’s really, powerfully sexy? A sense of humor. A taste for adventure. A healthy glow. Hips to grab on to. Openness. Confidence. Humility. Appetite. Intuition. … Smart-ass comebacks. Presence. A quick wit. Dirty jokes told by an innocent-looking lady. … A storyteller. A genius. A doctor. A new mother. A woman who realizes how beautiful she is.”
- - Did it break your heart?
- - Yes.
- - Then it was the same.
I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’t happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’t help. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide
3 or 4 months after it happened.
if I had met you
I would probably have been unfair to you or you
to me. it was best like this.
there’s no lie in her fire.
but I’m still time zones away
from who I was the day before we met
you were the first mile
where my heart broke a sweat