I was in secondary school during World War II, passionately patriotic, wholeheartedly sharing in the loathing of the grotesque Nazis and the fanatical Japanese.

I came of age during those years when our country heeded the wisdom of Gen. George Marshall and adopted a policy of healing and reconstruction, with the result that Germany and Japan became just what we needed – loyal allies and lively competitors, giving solid grounds for national security but never for national complacency.

As the military defeat of the Islamic State grinds toward success, we face the subtler foe of extremist ideology, and the most powerful weapon we have against it is not words but deeds. A tiny fraction of our immense military budget, devoted to field hospitals and heavy equipment, would reap incalculable benefits with a rebuilt, healthy Mosul standing as an irrefutable beacon.

Deuteronomy says it loud and clear: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

George F. Dole

Bath