Is the “Iraq Syndrome” Dying?

We’re all aware that public opinion has gotten notably more hawkish in the days since IS started beheading people on YouTube. But at the Prospect today, Paul Waldman makes the very good and important point that encouraged by this development, a Republican administration taking office in January of 2017 might be emboldened not only to re-invade Iraq but to also invade Syria, and for dessert, wage war on Iran. Strange as it may seem, the short-term odds of a return to multiple wars has sneaked up on us and is close enough that it should be part of the life contingency plan for anyone who might find her- or himself suddenly deployed.

That in itself is probably a private source of joy to conservatives whose war-mongering looked pretty discredited just a few years ago. As Waldman observes mordantly:

Just after the end of the first Iraq war, George H. W. Bush closed a celebratory speech by saying: “It’s a proud day for America. And, by God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.” That syndrome was the reluctance of the public (and military leaders) to countenance enormous military adventures in far-off lands in service of vaguely defined goals. So it may now be time to say that the “Iraq syndrome” is dead, if ever it existed.

No, Rand Paul doesn’t have a prayer in 2016 unless he starts frothing for war himself, as his daddy seeks to control himself.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.