I've written before about my dislike of the idea that the U.S. should be the world's policeman, committed to trying to enforce peace and civilized behavior in places like Syria. So I was touched by a story in today's Washington Post from Norfolk, Virginia, where there's a big naval base, talking about the sad state of the sailors who come back from such tours. "They're drained when they come back," one Norfolk man says, "They tell us all the time about how tired they are."
Another Norfolk resident, "My heart goes out to the people dying over there," says another, "but we've got to look out for our boys. We're stretched here." And we all remember stories about how suicides among career military people are up significantly.
And yet, and yet....Richard Cohen, a columnist I respect, writes in the Post the other day, "The inescapable truth is that the world needs a policeman. The inescapable truth is that only the United States can play cop....A further inescapable truth is that evil exists and must be fought."
So is it a job we can decline or one we must accept? Maybe we need an election to answer that question.