‘Great article’ and ‘The New Yorker’ are not typically two phrases Glenn would use in the same sentence, but this morning on radio, Glenn and Pat read an article by George Parker from this week’s New Yorker that provided a healthy dose of common sense on the Syria issue.

“So I never thought I would say these words, but there is a great article in the New Yorker, and it’s ‘Two Minds on Syria‘ by George Packer,” Glenn said. “I read it this morning on the way in, and I thought this is right… Now, remember, this is The New Yorker magazine. So this is a liberal point of view.”

The article is written in conversation form between two individuals arguing the United States’ options in Syria. Below is an excerpt from the piece:

…So you want us to get involved in their civil war.

I’m not saying that.

But that’s what we’ll be doing. Intervening on the rebel side, tipping the balance in their favor.

Not necessarily. We’ll be drawing a line that says dictators don’t get to use W.M.D.s without consequences.

You can’t bomb targets on one side of a civil war without helping the other side.

It would be very temporary. We’d send Assad a clear message, and then we’d step back and let them go on fighting. We’re not getting involved any deeper than that, because I know what you’re going to say—

The rebels are a bunch of infighting, disorganized, jihadist thugs, and we can’t trust any of them.

I’m not saying we should.

And what do we do if Assad retaliates against Israel or Turkey? Or if he uses nerve gas somewhere else?

We hit him again.


And it escalates.

Not if we restrict it to cruise missiles and air strikes.

Now you’re scaring me. Have you forgotten Iraq?

Not for a single minute.

My point is that you can’t restrict it. You can’t use force for limited goals. You need to know what you’ll do after his next move, and the move after that.

It only escalates if we allow ourselves to get dragged in deeper. Kosovo didn’t escalate.

This isn’t Kosovo. The Syrian rebels aren’t the K.L.A. Assad isn’t Milosevic. Putin isn’t Yeltsin. This is far worse. Kosovo became a U.N. protectorate. That’s not going to happen in Syria.

You think Putin is going to risk a military confrontation with the U.S. and Europe?

I think Russia isn’t going to let Assad go down. Neither is Iran or Hezbollah. So they’ll escalate. This could be the thing that triggers an Israel-Iran war, and how do we stay out of that? My God, it feels like August, 1914.

Read Packer’s entire article HERE.

“This is the real conversation that America is having,” Glenn said. “He just, I think, captured it… I think that the key here on this is that all-Americans, if they’re engaged, are feeling the same thing.”

“What we just read here from the New Yorker was really an honest assessment of what all of the points are,” Pat concluded. “And usually you wouldn’t get that kind of honesty from the New Yorker.”