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We need to abandon the idea of a single, unified Iraq

To the editor: 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. ("What Obama gets right in the fight with Islamic State," editorial, June 16)

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, Cerritos

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To the editor: 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, Pasadena

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