I haven’t watched the video of James Foley’s beheading, nor will I. Like Foley, I’m a freelance reporter — though with neither his well-deserved stature nor humbling courage — and a New England native, and his brutal murder has disturbed me greatly. Just considering what might happen to Steven Sotloff, the other American journalist shown in the video (and threatened to meet Foley’s fate if Obama doesn’t draw down the air raids against ISIS) turns my stomach. Feeling such a visceral, instinctual desire for justice — and even retribution — without having watched the video, I can hardly imagine the emotions felt by his friends and colleagues who deigned to watch it. And yet, regardless of my emotions, I cannot support an armed incursion into Iraq or Syria, regardless of the level of cruelty and evil that ISIS demonstrates. That we have already sent more than a thousand “boots on the ground” into Iraq sets us on a dangerous course, while any further American presence only satisfies our base desire for vengeance. In the process, the mere existence of American troops is only likely to embolden the dangerous, reactionary forces in the region — as their presence has in the recent past.

Read the rest at Salon. “Heading to a third Iraq war? The scary new danger of mission creep in the Middle East