The most insightful post-9/11 article to date

Former White House advisor Michael Gerson First, the nation may be tired, but history doesn't care.

This article is a really stark look at what lies ahead for our country, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office today, or in two years, or even in 10 years.

Americans have every right to expect competence and honesty about risks and mistakes and failures. Yet Americans, in turn, must understand that in a war where deception is the weapon and goal of the enemy, every mistake is not a lie; every failure is not a conspiracy. And the worst failure would be a timid foreign policy that allows terrible threats to emerge.

And, unfortunately, the demands of history may just be beginning, requiring more engagement, more sacrifice, more promotion of democracy, more foreign assistance to raise failed states where dangers gather. Setting out this case will fall to presidents of both parties, in calm and crisis—and making it will always be difficult in a weary hour. But necessity, in the end, makes a stronger argument than the finest rhetoric. And from London to Lebanon, history is proving that peace is not a natural state; it is achieved by a struggle of uncertain duration. In that struggle, the cynical, the world-weary, the risk-averse will not inherit the earth.

Gerson is right: Americans must be told what sacrifices lie ahead and, in turn, we must accept them.

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