The way to beat Is­lamic State

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “The U.S. and Is­lamic State,” Ed­i­to­rial, June 16

Why is the ob­vi­ous ig­nored? There are three par­tially ef­fec­tive forces on the ground in Iraq fight­ing Is­lamic State: the Kur­dish pesh­merga, which will fight Is­lamic State in the Kur­dish ar­eas of Iraq; the Sunni Mus­lim tribal mili­tias, many of which will fight in An­bar province; and the Shi­ite mili­tias, which will de­fend Bagh­dad and other ar­eas against the Is­lamic State ad­vance.

There is also the Iraqi army, which has re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant train­ing and weapons from the U.S. but has been in­ef­fec­tive, hav­ing aban­doned Amer­i­can weapons for Is­lamic State fight­ers to take. Pro­vid­ing more di­rect train­ing, weapons and even ground sup­port to at least the pesh­merga and Sunni tribal mili­tias could work to de­feat Is­lamic State, some­thing the Shi­ite-dom­i­nated cen­tral gov­ern­ment and Iraqi army will never do.

It is time to rec­og­nize that Iraq re­ally con­sists of three seg­ments, dom­i­nated by the Kurds, Sun­nis and Shi­ites, that will never ef­fec­tively op­er­ate as an in­te­grated coun­try in a democ­racy.

John C. McKin­ney


I was drafted in 1964. By late 1965, the Marine pilots I worked with feared that the Viet­nam War would end soon and the Air Force would get all the credit for de­feat­ing the Viet Cong.

Politi­cians per­pet­u­ate that in­san­ity. The public and the media have never ac­cepted the fu­til­ity of bomb­ing in­sur­gents.

The first step is to ac­cept what we can­not change. We can only ag­gra­vate the ha­tred be­tween Sun­nis and Shi­ites while cre­at­ing new en­e­mies; we’ve al­ready wasted more than $1 tril­lion that should have gone to­ward do­mes­tic needs.

Machismo will bring us down faster than Is­lamic State.

Bob Sn­od­grass


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