The U.S. is considering setting up a new network of military bases in Iraq from which American trainers would work with Iraqi forces and local tribesmen in the fight against the Islamic State, officials including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, have said. President Barack Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, has worked to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, but Islamic State battlefield success there in recent months could force a re-involvement. How far do you believe this will go — and how far do you believe it should go — in drawing U.S. troops back to Iraq?
Isn’t that what happened in Vietnam?
First the advisers were sent in to help, then the troops followed.
It is essential that the Islamic State is defeated, but unless victory is our goal, not a single American life should be risked to achieve anything less.
— Barry Dorsch, Fort Worth
I see no point in investing more time, money or lives in the Levant theater unless and until we have a publicly supported regional strategy in place, a unified Iraqi government, a bipartisan U.S. commitment to seeing it through and committed partners, including Turkey and Iran.
It is reasonable to speculate that this set of preconditions can never be met, but without them we should recognize that sometimes doing nothing really is no worse than doing something.
Continuing a war that can’t be won is immoral.
— Mark Greene, Fort Worth
What a total waste of time! And I’m not referring to the new network of proposed military bases, rather President Obama’s incompetence in “fulfilling his campaign promise” to withdraw our troops before the job was complete.
And why would we re-involve ourselves if there’s no strategy for victory?
If that is not the stated goal going in, there is no reason to waste more time, resources and, most important, precious human life.
— Ralph M. Gill, Fort Worth
U.S. troops are already back in Iraq, and we will need more.
Whether we follow Gen. Dempsey’s stated plans or not, we are going to have to have leadership from the president. Obama’s shocking revelation that we have no complete strategy in Iraq highlights the problem.
First, we should build a coalition of Arab states to fight ISIS in Syria, because that is their base. If America doesn’t lead, a power vacuum occurs and that is bad news for the world.
We can abrogate our role as a superpower and reap the whirlwind. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
— Robert I. Johnson, Fort Worth
In hindsight, our invasion of Iraq was a horrendous mistake.
There were no WMDs, no nuclear program, no al Qaeda.
Returning with ground troops is madness.
Let the Arab League pay for and deal with those Muslim wars.
We should not try to be the world’s policeman.
— Steve Hadley, Benbrook
A bill should be passed under which military personnel — because it’s their lives on the line — conduct the training with the complete freedom to defend themselves, not based on the whim of a congressman, senator or commander in chief. (I realize that is contrary to our Constitution.)
We have a trained military that knows more about fighting wars than any elected official.
Set the requirements and parameters for a job and let the people you have hired and trained do it.
— Wyman Bess, Roanoke
Here we go again!
We spent millions before, training and giving them millions of dollars in equipment and weapons. Then they deserted, ran away, leaving ISIS with all that military hardware.
I don’t see much hope unless there is unity in their country among the ethnic and religious groups, Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. If they all united in the fight, the Islamic State could be defeated.
— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth
The war against ISIS will not be won without U.S. ground combat troops.
President Obama downplays the threat by referring to ISIS as a junior varsity team, trying to just contain them and finally admitting that he has no strategy.
To deflect attention from this problem, Obama has identified global warming as our major threat, which is simply not true.
— Walter H. Delashmit, Justin
We cannot dismiss the threat in the Middle East. Otherwise, we may have to battle them on our own soil.
— Eva Snapka, Arlington
Radical Islam jeopardizes the existence of progressive, modern human civilization.
However, while we created much of the current mess in the Middle East, it is time for the United States to stop going it alone there and to quit providing equipment and support for questionable homegrown opposition.
Europe has far more at stake in this region because of proximity. If Europe chooses not to be equal partners in a military solution now, we should cut bait.
— Jack Muller, Mansfield
All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, firstname.lastname@example.org.