What is one to make of Ross Douhat's column today? One could use it as evidence of an individual's stupidity and lack of knowledge. One could say that the Times is down to Krugman and the seven dwarfs. Or one could generalize it to the hermetically sealed foolishness of the Beltway. Or one could take it all the way out to the devolution of discourse in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Whatever your preferred flavor of head-scratching and/or outrage, I would note that among the silliest attempts of this silly man's silly piece is its attempt to apply the 'liberal vs. conservative' frame to this set of facts. One could point out that the approach critiqued here was that of Bush Pere (and, for that matter, of St. Reagan, who never actually deployed any force anywhere for anything of consequence). One could point out that Bosnia and Kosovo didn't work out badly, in the end -- while one is pointing out that Iraq and Afghanistan haven't worked out anywhere near as well, either from a humanitarian or US strategic interests standpoint. One could point out that the broader historical pattern, for good or ill, is for liberals to be more interventionist than conservatives (FDR, yo? Robert Taft, yo?).
Or one could just bang one's head on the desk.