I read yesterday in our former paper of record that the Obama administration has “pledged to help the French in their fight against Islamist militants in Mali.” “Help” here means, apparently, that the administration is promising “air and other logistical support” (i.e., not ground troops), just as it did in Libya, where, as you probably remember, our “help” was very much appreciated.
Churchill, not a statesman known for his dovish views, once blurted out that he had “lived 78 years without hearing of bloody places like Cambodia.” Well, I have lived for slightly less than 78 years without hearing of bloody places like Mali, Libya, and Yemen. (Would that I had lived all of them without hearing of bloody places like Iraq and Afghanistan too.)
America should commit troops and resources abroad only when her vital interests are threatened or when one of her allies is attacked. Once we decide to intervene in the affairs of x crumby third-world backwater for “humanitarian” reasons, we (at least in theory) commit ourselves to an endless series of crusades, campaigns, expeditions, arbitraments of the sword (there's a whole page that I could re-type from my 1911 Roget’s).
After all, why stop with Mali? Why not use drones to take out all the African despots, all the Near Eastern theocrats, every single South American banana republican or East Asian object of a personality cult who gives us guff?