Strategies for the Arab world

Sunday, March 6, 2011; 8:11 PM

Regarding Charles Krauthammer's March 4 column, "From Baghdad to Benghazi":

Though President George W. Bush's goal of spreading democracy throughout the Arab world was laudable, his implementation of the policy was a disaster. The Iraq war resulted in thousands of deaths, strengthened Iran's position in the region and produced an unstable Iraqi government that may very well collapse into fundamentalist Islamism once U.S. troops depart.

Democracy cannot be forced onto societies. It must emerge from domestic, populist efforts that can be successfully accelerated by foreign governments only through diplomatic efforts, not invasions.

Lloyd P. Trufelman, New York


A "no-fly zone" sounds great and would offer some cool footage of anti-aircraft missiles streaking through the desert sky on the evening news ["U.S. defense leaders warn of risks in enforcing no-fly zone," news story, March 2].

In this age of austerity, however, wouldn't it be cost constructive to offer money - say $5 million per plane - to Libyan crews who would fly their bombers and helicopters to a neutral location? It is possible that for less than a billion dollars - small potatoes in terms of the monetary and human cost of mounting and maintaining a no-fly zone - the offensive capacity of the Libyan air force could be effectively shut down.

Of course, it might not work, in which case it would have cost nothing; neither would it make the evening news.

William Bateson, Washington

© 2011 The Washington Post Company