In Editorials

This Saturday marks the third anniversary.

Sept. 11, 2004, should bring reflection for Americans as a people
and introspection for the leaders who have forged the heretofore

America and the world have undergone wrenching change; the change
has brought with it new problems and few solutions.

The turmoil in Iraq is the most glaring testament to the conundrum
in which America finds itself. Lightning victory brought with it
interminable and costly occupation.

U.S. foreign policy directors have on their soiled hands the loss
of more than 1,000 American lives, titular Iraqi sovereignty and no
discernable exit plan.

Also notably absent is the candor that we deserve and rightly
expect from our supposedly tough-talking president. While quick to
dispense swaggering proclamations concerning the spread of freedom
and democracy, President Bush is coy about practical matters like
when and how American forces will be able to declare “mission
accomplished” in earnest.

The painful truth is that no one knows when, how or even if this
crisis will unfold in America’s favor. Perhaps this should
come as little surprise, given that the precepts by which the war
was foisted upon America are as nebulous as its ultimate outcome.
The U.S. military is the world’s most lethal force, but it is
not omniscient.

Indeed, “quagmire” could not better describe the

That said, we as citizens should, over the next two months, examine
the chain of decisions that led us to the rocky path on which we
tread. Was the invasion of Iraq perforce in response to Sept. 11,
or was it a consequence of the revolutionary doctrine of preemption
marshaled by our commander-in-chief?

Of all of the assumptions surrounding the war in Iraq, most of
which have proven false, the one we feel comfortable making is that
the course has been of an exceptional vision: Bush has blazed a
unique trail.

The third anniversary of American foreign policy’s
metamorphosis brings with it a new fork in the road.

Come November, Americans should think astutely about the greatest
question of our time: Is the path of preemption the one on which we
want to continue?

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