To the editor: Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan suggest that the right way to fight Islamic State is to send in ground forces. When will we learn the lessons of other failed ground wars, including Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? ("U.S. strategy against Islamic State is too much air, not enough boots," Op-Ed, Oct. 6)
The Viet Cong, Taliban and Saddam Hussein's forces were each thousands of miles from our shores and did not represent existential threats. There were no reliable partners on the ground.
Progress, which could only be measured over years, required a gradual escalation of forces. The more violence we threw at an enemy embedded in the local population, the more civilians we killed, and the resulting anger helped the enemy.
In Iraq and Syria, let's not make matters worse by throwing kerosene onto a raging fire.
Joel Rudnick, Mar Vista
To the editor: As a Vietnam veteran and retired Marine, I'm truly perplexed by the call from non-combatants to send in ground troops.
I'm also surprised that no one has pointed out the fact that Islamic State is not a standing army — it is more like a very dangerous street gang gone wild. Even if it numbers 30,000 or more fighters, would it be able to stand against the 2nd Marine Division? Against a U.S. Army tank battalion with the awesome Abrams tank?
Not at all. Islamic State fighters would just melt in with the local populace, and we would be mired in a senseless and never-ending police action — again.
Why is the brain trust so eager to send our men and women off to right a wrong that we cannot right? This is a fight we cannot win, so let the locals fight it out or succumb to their fate. Let the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Syrians fight for their country, their families, their freedom.
When did we become a nation of such panic?
Stephen Baldwin, Irvine