With 20-20 hindsight, perhaps it was the intransigence of Senate Democrats and the president, not House Republicans, that bear most of the responsibility for the government shutdown. The administration’s unilateral action Wednesday to extend the individual mandate by six weeks [“Deadline extended for health coverage,” front page, Oct. 24] could and should have been done as part of a bipartisan agreement to fund the government as proposed by the House, which sought a one-year delay. This would have provided individuals with the same reprieve already provided businesses. And it would have allowed the time needed for further testing to avoid a spectacularly flawed rollout.

Warren Thrasher, Vienna

E.J. Dionne Jr. rightly urged us all to “Take a deep breath” [op-ed, Oct. 24] in the face of the “staggeringly complex task” of launching the Web site for the Affordable Care Act.

I’ve  heard it said that, if all the battleships launched in World War II had waited until they were fully equipped for battle, none would have left port. Anyone who thinks a massive computer program can be launched without major glitches lives in a fantasy world. Every businessman knows that creating new Web sites, even modest ones, entails complex programming whose bugs take time to eliminate. It took years for Social Security and Medicare to run smoothly.

Despite all the political capital Republicans have spent trashing Obamacare, I fear that Republicans will be left with egg on their face once the administration applies its massive resources to getting the system up to speed.

Richard L. McCloud, Reston