The country desperately needs smart action to deal with the bad economic news on the home front and the tragic, wasteful war being pursued in Afghanistan.

President Obama should go on national TV and tell the country that he has concluded that dramatic action is called for, and he is therefore taking two related steps:

He is ending our active involvement in Afghanistan, and bringing home our troops on an expedited basis, by end of the year at the latest. This will make possible a major defense budget shift of funds that already has been approved.

Those funds will go to reassign or otherwise employ returning troops first, and then to employ unemployed non-military workers in jobs in the U.S. on an expedited basis. Workers will be employed to bring about needed infrastructure repairs at home, while bringing down unemployment levels dramatically.

Both moves are wise, necessary, decisive and creative. They should be a first step toward a concerted public drive to reduce unemployment to acceptably reasonable levels and conclude American adventurism abroad.

More on these points to come.

Ronald Goldfarb is a Washington, D.C., attorney and author who served in the Kennedy Justice Department.