I agree with you that it is very difficult for us to consider the forest when there are so damn many big impressive trees and stands of trees and mountains of trees and logging operations to investigate. Am working on a new piece attempting to respond to recent events and the public discussion. The President and all the President's persons are in the perhaps unenviable position of trying to do the same thing, but to political effect, for a world of tree-hugging forest-haters.
Mr. I seems to me to remain left-oriented but politically bi-curious. So he observes Marshall's blanket anti-interventionism and reflexive "anti-imperialism" sympathetically, but can't avoid referring to contradictions and complexities inconvenient for the straight political life. If you read the WSJ backgrounder (below), seems clear that it's as important in present calculations for U.S. not to let Assad/Russian/Iran "win," which also would quite possibly amount to an al-Nusra win as well, as to ensure a rebel win. But it's also probably true that Assad now must lose.
You have a way, don, of starting off the majority if not the overwhelming majority of your comments with unclear references. For instance, I am not sure what the antecedent of "that" in "that's a silly notion" is supposed to be. If people are often puzzled by your comments, I think that's often the reason. In the present instance, I'm not quite sure whom to defend against the charge of silliness.