Sunday, September 05, 2004

Jeffrey H. Smith discusses why the President of the United States should be able to learn from the mistakes of Viet Nam and Iraq in this Washington Post column.

"A true test of any future president should be whether he can recognize a failing policy and has the moral courage to change course and lead our nation out. Bush has not demonstrated that he understands the magnitude of the errors he made in getting us into Iraq. Even some leading Republicans, including Rep. Doug Bereuter of Nebraska, have now said the war was a mistake. Does Bush recognize that?

The debates of 1971 have echoes in our current one. We have gotten deeply involved in a region that we do not understand, and we have unleashed forces we cannot control. We must have a president who can recognize our strengths and our shortcomings, who will ask hard questions and who will challenge advice, even intelligence information that is presented to him. Did Bush ask those hard questions before making the decision to send our forces to war?

In 1971 Kerry recognized that we needed to change our policy. In 2004 he recognizes the need to change our policy. That is the issue. Who is better equipped to lead us: Bush, who rigidly insists that he is right, or Kerry, who has charted a new direction?"

Read the whole column here.