Saturday, August 31, 2013
Dexter Filkins' What Should Obama Do on Syria?

The best article I have read on America's limited options and the significant, in some cases catastrophic, downside accompanying each scenario.  My current reading of Martha Nussbaum on Greek tragedy is pertinent here.  Nussbaum makes the point that many tragic Greek heroes aren't tragic because they choose one of any number of bad options -- not every ethically complex scenario will have anything remotely resembling a positive outcome -- but because they either dishonestly simplify their decision-making criteria (Sophocles' Cleon) or, worse, get behind a bad decision, once made, with full animal spirits (Aeschylus' Agamemnon).  Food for thought for Obama, a thoughtful man but not thoughtful enough, at least to date, to elude the siren call of the Predators & Tomahawks' scary illusion of bloodless, "cost-free" asymmetric warfare.

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