It is long past time to quit arguing whether or not we should have gone into Iraq. And the president should stop trying to win that argument -- most people have made up their minds on this issue and can't be persuaded to change them. He'd be better off trying to marshal support for increasing troop strength.
More American troops in Iraq might mean more American casualties. But we cannot fight wars if we are unwilling to assume the risk of American deaths. The men and women who bravely serve this country understand the sacrifices that may be required of them. What is inexcusable is asking Americans to give their lives for nothing. If Iraq continues to spiral downward into civil war and we leave a country that is worse off than when we entered it, we will have dishonored the more than 2,600 Americans who have already shed their blood in battle.
We cannot afford to lose the war in Iraq, and we don't have much time to turn things around. If Baghdad cannot be secured, there is little chance for the rest of Iraq. With an election just around the corner, the president has some tough choices. He can concentrate on winning the battle for Congress, which means more speeches defending his policies and those who supported them. Or he can do what is necessary to win the war, which means sending more troops to Iraq. History will not be kind if he chooses the former.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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