The dire situation in Iraq has its origins in President George W. Bush’s invasion that wrecked the country — an invasion The Post supported. President Obama inherited this mess and has not been very successful at making it better, but it is not very clear what measures would work. The United States repeatedly has tried to prop up unstable governments such as the one in Iraq without a great deal of success, and, if history is any guide, further intervention in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon also will be futile. We are just not very good at this sort of thing, and we need to rethink how we can do a better job of furthering our national interests before, again, diving into a situation we don’t understand or know how to improve.

Frank B. Howard, Bethesda