Regarding the Aug. 12 front-page article “U.S. directly arms Kurdish forces in north”:
The U.S. decision to arm Iraqi Kurds shows a dangerous and deplorable disregard for the lessons of history. The move is understandably tempting, given the threat Islamist extremists pose to civilians and the integrity of the Iraqi state, especially when the redeployment of U.S. troops is all but off the table.
However, the United States has been burned by its own military aid before, and our leaders should know to resist the myopic urge to provide arms. Don’t they recall our experiences in Afghanistan, where military aid, dispensed freely during the Soviet occupation, fueled the rise of warlords and extremists whom we have spent more than a decade fighting? Or perhaps Panama, where the CIA propped up dictator Manuel Noriega for years, only for his forces to kill or wound hundreds of U.S. soldiers in 1989?
Of course, they need not even look that far; the secret to the Islamic State’s recent victories against the pesh merga — the very impetus for providing arms — is advanced military hardware seized from the Iraqi military. It was provided by none other than the United States.
Zachary Miller, Fleetwood, Pa.