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Thus, if we choose to militarily intervene in Syria, we must do so with ground forces, account for Iranian retaliation, end foreign assistance to the Assad government, secure its chemical weapons, address a potentially resurgent regional al-Qaida threat, and arrive to the fight with a competent and adequately resourced post-conflict plan.
And we must apply the ultimate lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan — for our efforts to succeed, we must ask the local population what they want, help them address those needs in a timely and efficient fashion, and leave our experts in place long enough to see the fighting to its end.
Finally, should we think that our Libyan solution possesses an adequate course of action, I’d ask you to take a visit to Benghazi and tell me if you feel America and democracy won. Yes, we got rid of a horrible tyrant, but at what cost?
Matt Zeller is the author of “Watches Without Time: An American Soldier in Afghanistan.” He was the Democratic candidate for the House in New York’s 29th district in 2010.