But we canï¿½and shouldï¿½immediately produce a clearly stated plan that will set calendar goals for a phased withdrawal. The Iraqis will then know we are serious about not allowing this chaos to continue indefinitely. They, with our help, will have to speed up the training of their new army and police forces. And maybe they will have to ask their allies in the Middle East, Arab and non-Arab, to help them militarily.
President Bush, if he has any hope of being remembered as a leader who arrived eventually at reality and wisdom, will have to stop scorning as unpatriotic everyone who proposes an exit strategy. He describes such dissentersï¿½that would include myselfï¿½as misguided Americans who want to "cut and run" and thus help the terrorists. As bold and brave as he may imagine himself, the truly brave are those on the battlefield, who were sent there by him. (Humility, he seems to forget, is another trait that marks a great leader.)
Let us honor these men and women by giving them a blueprint for getting them home. We cannot ask them to be the only Americans to make sacrifices for their country and to do so without end. Each of our soldiers' lives is as important as that of the president or any member of his family. The president might think hard about thatï¿½as the numbers of the fallen keep multiplying.