Readers React: Time to draw a ‘red line’ against the barbarism of Islamic State’

To the editor: The Paris attacks, together with the crisis caused by the flood of Syrian refugees into Europe, make clear that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization must take the lead now in defeating Islamic State. (“France launches ‘massive’ airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria,” Nov. 15)

Like the coalition that President George H.W. Bush put together to remove Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait in 1991, President Obama and other NATO leaders must assemble a broad coalition, including potentially Russia, Iran and those Arab countries that are willing to join, to finally push Islamic State out of Iraq and Syria. And if Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to commit his troops to this effort, he should be allowed to do so, without any guarantees as to the future of his government once Islamic State is defeated.

It’s time for us to draw a “red line” against the barbarism of Islamic State, which threatens not only the Middle East but the West.

Richard Kale, Pasadena



To the editor: French President Francois Hollande correctly called the attacks in France an “act of war.”

On Sunday he did not connect this bombing and killing as yet another example of continuing acts of war in the Middle East in which France is a prominent player. The Paris killers said their attacks were in response to French war actions.

Just two days after the Paris attacks, French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on the Syrian town of Raqqa, an Islamic State-controlled city. Targets reportedly were stadiums, museums, meeting places and training camps.


We are conditioned to speak of these locations as inanimate targets without recognizing the women, the children, the men who will be considered collateral damage.

Paris gave us a look at what this insane war means to good people who look like us. We should be able to understand why hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing their war-torn countries.

Responding with more violence will continue to devastate all people who are trapped in this cycle of endless war.

Haskell Wexler, Santa Monica


To the editor: The tragedy in France dominates our political rhetoric, but not in a very constructive way.

Pundits are once again challenging President Obama to describe the attackers as “Islamic terrorists.” Yes, these people are terrorists and they subscribe to Islam; fine, let’s call them that.

With that out of the way, what are the next steps in preventing attacks here while at the same time eliminating this global threat? Does merely renaming a threat unleash America’s awesome military might?


This fight will force other countries in the Middle East to step up. Unfortunately, the process of building a coalition of the willing is slow.

In the meantime, grousing over terminology seems silly.

Norman Franz, San Clemente


To the editor: If we are at truly at war, it requires some leadership from Obama. He has said this is a 10-year fight at least. Ten years is a long time and requires that the American people become involved before we become terrorized.

Today we have a mercenary military. There is no other name for it. That force amounts to something less than 1% of the population. People sign up for a specific period of time and then get out or re-up.

During World War II, about 10% of the population was in uniform.

Similarly, if we are in a 10-year fight, we should have a full-blown draft and a 3% surtax on every taxpayer.


Any other “partner” should do the same or be prepared to fight alone if they are attacked. Without this kind of commitment by our country and our partners, there will not be a resolution.

Terrorism is not an opponent; it is a technique supported by many countries. Leadership must have the courage to identify the opponents and destroy them no matter what.

Jerome Bertrand, Newport Beach


To the editor: I am a Democrat hoping to vote Democratic in the upcoming presidential election. But surveying the worst attack on French soil since World War II; Russian provocations in the Ukraine, Georgia and all over the Baltic; Chinese construction of a formidable deep-water navy and land grabs in the South China Sea; Iran thumbing its nose at us with ballistic missile launches and arrests of American citizens; and Islamic State on the march — coupled with military cuts due to

sequestration — why do I feel like the only “JV” team playing in the international arena has been headquartered in Washington?

Lorin Fife, Valley Village


To the editor: I have been watching cable news and listening to the guests and moderators beating the drums for war. We don’t even know who we will be bombing.

When I hear these people say, “I am going to urge my kids and nieces and nephews to enter the military to help solve these problems,” then I will believe they are sincere.

Alice King, San Dimas


To the editor: It doesn’t seem to matter how many wars or “strikes” occur now or have occurred in past centuries. What is sadly obvious is that the only thing we seemed to have learned really well is how to hate people who are not like us, and how to kill them in the name of whatever power we believe in.

Will we ever learn? Doesn’t seem likely. It’s not the words we speak in the name of encouraging multiculturalism and diversity, it’s the actions we take that really matter, isn’t it?

You kill us, we kill you back, then you kill us again, then we kill you again — and on and on.

Diana Wolff, Rancho Palos Verdes

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