...or so one could conclude from the language Rep. Kristi Noem uses in her August 29 interview with the editorial board of that Sioux Falls paper.
Publisher Randall Beck asks Rep. Noem the extent to which South Dakotans are engaged with the issue of going to war with Syria. Noem gave this interview prior to publication of David Newquist's essay or Michael Larson's discussion of his students' questions about the Middle East or (update!) Terry Sohl's ruminations. She was able to say that Syria as come up "at every town hall" that she's held during this August recess.
Then laying groundwork for political criticism of whatever decision President Obama makes to respond to Syria's use of chemical weapons, Rep. Noem damns America's military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq as fatiguing and fruitless:
...their perspective most of the time to me is that they don't want another Iraq and Afghanistan. And they've seen the millions and billions of dollars we've invested in those countries and there's no assurance that as soon as we pull out that those countries are going to be any better off or be more democratic when we leave, and so they don't want another one of those situations.
I think for them the only way the American public and South Dakotans will get behind an action against Syria is if they know clearly what the objectives are and that our plan is to get in and get back out [Rep. Kristi Noem, interview with editorial board, that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.08.29].
Rep. Noem sets three criteria for backing military action against Syria: the objectives must be clear, we must have a transparent timetable for entry and exit, and the President must guarantee Syria will be more democratic when we're done. The first criterion is doable but must not be mistaken for an inflexible pledge that hamstrings us in the face of changing situations. The second criterion is arguably hazardous. The third is impossible soothsaying.
But under all three, Rep. Kristi Noem transported to 2001 and 2003 would have voted against military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
When Rep. Noem says we don't (read: she doesn't) want another Iraq or Afghanistan, she is implicitly saying invading Iraq and Afghanistan were bad ideas. Republicans, is this your new orthodoxy, or is "Not another Iraq! Not another Afghanistan!" just the convenient popular shorthand of the moment to cover your ceaseless anti-Obama campaign and avoid sincere analysis of the unique and complicated situation Syria presents?