President Bush Should End the War He Started

"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war." --John Adams*

Tomorrow I hope that President Bush decides to take his Iraq War in a direction that brings our troops home, rather than to grasp at military straws to recover from a political error. If instead he escalates American participation in Iraq's civil war, every American who dies in Iraq from this day forward is a patriot lost because one American leader cannot admit mistakes.

We are at a crucial turning point in Iraq and Afghanistan, and before the president decides to send more American troops in harm's way in Iraq, he needs to make his case to the American people, a case he has never convincingly made. No more lives lost for reasons and goals uncertain.

I hope President Bush heard the voice of the American people in November and listens to our professional military. I agree with our military leadership that it's time for Iraqis to fight for Iraqis, rather than to have Americans fight for Iraqis.

Seldom mentioned these days is our original mission in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden last hid and where his Taliban allies are staging a comeback. We still have opportunity for a complete success in Afghanistan, but unfortunately we do not have adequate resources there today. Redeploying from Iraq would allow us to bring most of our troops home and to have the resources to finish off the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

A lesson I've learned in life is you finish what you start. President Bush took us off-track from the pursuit of Osama bin Laden and turned us into the cul-de-sac of Iraq. The torch of our efforts to suppress terrorists wherever they hide should, and shall be, passed to future generations, but the war in Iraq was started by this president and should be finished by this president.

*John Adams writing to his wife Abigail after averting a war between the United States and France in 1798 (which probably caused his re-election loss to Thomas Jefferson in 1800).