In his Feb. 26 op-ed column, “Obama’s Syria policy, born of fear,” Richard Cohen revealed a hubris in his thinking on Syria that recalls the sloganeering and ignorance that drew us into Iraq. It is appropriate that he begins his column with Lawrence of Arabia, evoking a cinematic clash of good guys and bad guys.

Mr. Cohen said that we could ship arms to the insurgents. Which insurgents? It’s a near-certainty that at least some of them are affiliated with terrorist organizations, and the arms we would ship — antiaircraft rockets, for example — don’t distinguish between military and civilian jets.

Israel “watches, nervously”? Israel has been one of the powers most reluctant to intervene in any of the recent uprisings, for fear of provoking regional instability. And the semi-autonomous Kurdish state in Syria’s north about which Mr. Cohen is so concerned? That remains one of the most feasible and discussed options for aiding the opposition.

There is no question that the Assad regime must go, but Syria is a complicated country, without clearly demarcated heroes and villains. The president is wise to demonstrate restraint.

Josh Raisher, Washington

No one makes the president’s foreign policy look so effective as its critics. According to Jennifer Rubin [“Obama’s national security flop,” op-ed, Feb. 25], President Obama’s foreign policy has failed because we spend too little on defense, we are insufficiently belligerent toward Iran, we no longer have forces on the ground to mediate sectarian warfare in Iraq and we are withdrawing too fast from Afghanistan.

Thank God for our national security flop.

Richard Leverone, Arlington