June 26, 2014 5:53 AM EDT

IRAQ 2.0

Michael Crowley’s June 30 cover story on the battle for control of Iraq was praised by Donna Price as “perhaps the most knowledgeable, well researched and written article on the growing Middle East nightmare that I’ve read.” It also prompted Nelson Marans of Silver Spring, Md., to decry the “blame game being played … ranging from George Bush to Barack Obama. Perhaps we should look at the U.S. intelligence agencies, [which] made the call on weapons of mass destruction.” Others debated what the next steps should be. “What to do in Iraq?” wrote Ron Lowe of Nevada City, Calif. “If you’re a realist, you know that the Sunnis, allied with the extremely violent Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have moved to within 40 miles of Baghdad. Do we let them overrun Iraq?” Jacob Brauner of London had another take: “Cooperating with Iran in combating ISIS will inevitably result in the strengthening of the Shi’ite militias. Aren’t those militias as fanatic as their Sunni counterparts?”

MY HOG, MYSELF

“Finally, Harley Davidson got its corporate head out of its tailpipe,” wrote Allen Stanko of San Diego, one of the least cynical commenters on Bill Saporito’s June 30 feature on the motorcycle giant’s new electric bike. Jim Schepers of Grand Rapids, Mich., wrote: “Harley-Davidson’s desire to be ‘badass green’ reveals how captive the company is to its self-contrived image.”

THE END OF RETIREMENT

Rana Foroohar’s examination of what Social Security will look like in 2030 sparked anxiety–and suggestions for possible solutions. Andrew Colyer of Bel Air, Md., proposed “saving [up] and living within your means.” Another reader, Kimberly Croft, wrote this: “I’m sure there are plenty of good, rational suggestions for ‘fixing’ Social Security to make it viable for the next few generations. Of course, Washington lacks the political will to do anything constructive, much less face this catastrophe in the making.” Meanwhile, David Mindlin of South Daytona, Fla., found a humorous upside: “The article was excellent but failed to mention a big positive related to multigenerational households for us oldsters: in-house tech support!”

THE MAVERICK

“I have never been convinced of the benefit of cloning, but I would love to see a Congress full of Senator Joe Manchins,” wrote Mary Lee Peterson of Tucson, Ariz., in response to Jon Meacham’s profile of the West Virginia politician, who spoke about his frustration with getting work done in Washington. Randy Schiffman of Wausau, Wis., agreed, lamenting that “until the climate changes, real leaders like Manchin will be forced to prosper in arenas other than politics.”

PIT BULLS

A June 20 TIME.com piece by Charlotte Alter called “The Problem With Pit Bulls”–about the safety of that kind of canine–brought on a deluge of protest mail from pit-bull supporters. “Pets are just like children. They are what you make them,” wrote Stu M. Dill, who objected to blaming the type of dog rather than negligent owners.

This appears in the July 07, 2014 issue of TIME.

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