Republicans have an incentive to avoid a conversation about our multiple wars because the GOP finds it more politically advantageous to portray Barack Obama as a feckless commander in chief who has made the country less safe through grandiloquent displays of spinelessness. To put our wars on the table for discussion and debate would expose the actual truth, which is that Obama has very much governed as a hawk (albeit one who, unlike Republicans, prefers not to brag about it).

Democrats, on the other hand, have several reasons of their own to avoid a conversation about our multiple wars. First, because they quite understandably fear that the American people might object if they realized the Democratic administration was meddling militarily in so many places. Second, because the results of and strategic goals at stake in these interventions are so consistently muddled. Third, because it would reveal that Democrats are closely following the foreign policy vision of their nemesis George W. Bush.

And finally and most troublingly, the press has an incentive to avoid a discussion of our actions in places like Somalia and Yemen because the details are extraordinarily complicated — and journalists have no faith in their own ability to explain the necessary historical and geopolitical background to each conflict in a way that will keep an audience engaged, or faith in the American people to process and evaluate that information in a responsible way.

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