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Will the ends, will the means

Hillary Clinton recently reignited the who-lost-Syria debate when she suggested that President Barack Obama made a mistake in not intervening more forcefully early in the Syrian civil war by arming the pro-democracy rebels. I’ve been skeptical about such an intervention — skeptical that there were enough of these “mainstream insurgents,” skeptical that they could ever defeat President Bashar Assad’s army and the Islamists and govern Syria. So if people try to sell you on it, ask them these questions before you decide if you are with Clinton or Obama:

The use of force by police is a growing problem. Or is it?

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday to assure the community that the federal government will be taking an active role in the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. But Brown’s death raises larger questions about the use of force by police Holder and President Barack Obama need to confront.

Spending too much, too fast in Afghanistan

In the wake of its initial military action in Afghanistan, and in spite of then-President George W. Bush’s prior opposition to “nation-building,” the U.S. embarked upon a large-scale effort to help reconstruct the war-torn nation. While there have been some successes, the Afghanistan reconstruction effort has been plagued by boondoggles and other forms of government waste, detailed in the most recent reports from a series of inspector general audits.