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letters | what should obama do about syria?

US must avoid repeating past mistakes, keep out of widening war

A child walked past damaged buildings in Deir al-Zor, Syria, earlier this year.

REUTERS

A child walked past damaged buildings in Deir al-Zor, Syria, earlier this year.

ALAN BERGER’S op-ed, “The ‘let-it-burn’ strategy” (June 22), reflects the common sense of someone whose memory extends to before President George W. Bush’s senseless war in Iraq. During the 1980s, the West encouraged its twin enemies, Iraq and Iran, to fight each other, which they obligingly did. The United States later foolishly intervened in Iraq, with the result — predicted by some — that Iran became the major Middle Eastern power.

Today, while the situation in Syria is tragic, our potential liberal allies are not strong enough to win power. Rather than sending in troops, it is wiser for the United States to let Iran, Russia, and whatever other authoritarian powers imagine they can “win” the war waste their energies fighting one another. Cynical? Perhaps. But peace will not come to Syria until the contending factions decide — who knows when — that democracy and religious tolerance are the only paths to progress.

Carl Proper

Lexington

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