Readers React: U.S. military action isn’t always the answer

To the editor: Max Boot’s prescription for salvaging U.S. foreign policy fails to recognize the need for a nuanced analysis of the possible consequences of unilateral military intervention. (“Chuck Hagel’s firing won’t help U.S. foreign policy,” Op-Ed, Nov. 24)

With respect to securing American interests, foreign or domestic, arguably the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan have not had persuasively positive outcomes. In fact, the entire Middle East region, politically, appears less stable now than prior to the involvement of U.S. forces.

As an enthusiastic supporter of these troubled military campaigns, one would think Boot might have taken a lesson from the regional chaos that has resulted. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Once again, he is advocating the use of American military power to remedy complex ethnic and ideological conflicts that are historically resistant to a purely military solution.

As we have seen over the last decade, the unexamined application of force does not necessarily guarantee an enduring peace.


Andrew Spathis, Los Angeles


To the editor: According to Boot, “The president’s foreign policy … has produced disasters in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.”

First, the Iraq war, which Boot supported enthusiastically, produced the disaster in Iraq, not President Obama. Boot seems to believe that we just didn’t spend enough lives and treasure propping up a Shiite regime that oppresses minorities and takes its marching orders from Iran.


Just a few more years, and Iraq would’ve been — what, precisely?

As far as Ukraine and Syria, what exactly should the U.S. do to fix these problems? According to Boot, we can fix Ukraine by dumping some weapons in there, and we can fix Syria by dropping more bombs from 30,000 feet. Oh, and by the way, we should also stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. No thanks.

Some problems aren’t ours and don’t have a solution. I count the situations in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine among them.

Branden Frankel, Encino

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Get our weekly Opinion newsletter