Whatever Bush's missteps and "misunderestimations" as to foreign policy, the much-derided "W" was realist enough to know that maintaining a distance from some problems only makes them worse. The Syrian rebellion -- out of which the Islamic State emerged -- is case in point. When people who say they hate you are getting stronger and stronger, killing more and more of your friends, don't you need at least to ask what might constructively be done about it?
Or is it better just to wait and see what happens, the path our president and his foreign policy team chose on account of ... what? Disdain for Bush and Dick Cheney? Fear of a leftwing-isolationist insurgency among Democrats? Authentic if misguided conviction? All of the above?
The consequences are, in any case, plain to see. The New York Times quotes an Islamic State member who responded to an Internet message. Abu Abu Khadija says, "Yazidi women and children (are) dying from thirst and starvation. I saw them with my own eyes taking their last breath; this scene awakened all my pains and sorrows." Iraq's human rights minister -- without noting the comparable plight of Iraqi Christians -- says the jihadists have now killed at least 500 Yazidis.
Of course, we -- the United States -- refrained from doing "stupid stuff."
Or did we?