Don’t get me wrong. On balance, I’d like to see the Assad regime fall and to see an end to the suffering of Syrian civilians. From a strategic standpoint, though, the fact that the Sunni and Shia Islamists—who both want to destroy U.S. interests and wipe Israel off the map—are battling in Syria may not be the worst thing in the world.

Remember, too, that the United States covertly intervened in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) on the side of Iraq, for reasons that could well be justified, but ended up fighting two wars against Iraq in the next fifteen years.

Remember that Americans cheered the downfall of the repressive shah only to see a more repressive, far more aggressive, and far more anti-American regime replace it, not to mention the seizure of American hostages.

Remember also that Americans cheered the downfall of the Libyan dictator only to see a raging anarchy in which American diplomats were not taken hostage but murdered. Today, their killers walk the streets of Benghazi providing security, untouchable by Libya’s government, laughing at the Americans who empowered them.

Things in the Middle East are not so simple.