Linda Chavez

During World War II, our parents and grandparents made enormous sacrifices to ensure victory. They went without basic necessities, not to mention luxuries, so that our troops would be properly fed and clothed. They invested their savings in war bonds. Americans of all classes enlisted even before they could be drafted. Women entered the workforce so that men could fight. Newspapers put the nation's security first, never using the First Amendment as an excuse to reveal information that could jeopardize the war effort. Our partisan differences, no less dramatic than they are today, ended at the water's edge.

Our losses in Korea and Vietnam did not ultimately jeopardize American security. But a loss in Iraq will have far greater consequences. Iran, which is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power, will be emboldened by our failure to win against a relatively small but ruthless enemy in Iraq. At the very least, we can expect a protracted and perilous new Cold War against a less rational enemy than we faced in the Soviet Union.

It is difficult to see how we might turn this around, surely not unless Americans wake up to the danger.

Linda Chavez

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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