The United States and a fair portion of the rest of the world has a serious problem that isn't going to go away for a while. It is called IRAQ. The Bush administration created the problem, turning from a widely supported war against terrorists to an unprovoked invasion of an Islamic country, for reasons that, it has become increasingly obvious, were outright lies. Far from reducing terrorism, this attack thrust a relatively stable country into chaos, multiplying terrorist recruitment and motivation manyfold. It will be our most costly war ever, and has earned us the disapproval of most of the world

The lies, the deceptio ns, and the instances of poor judgement by the Bush administration could fill several pages, but that is beside the point.

The ultimate blame for this mess belongs to us. We, the people allowed it to happen. We could have prevented it, and we didn't.

When I say 'we', I'm not implying that I personally ever voted for Bush or believed we should invade Iraq. But the majority did, and should have known better.

We are entirely too focused on party politics. When it comes to foreign policy, and when it comes to honesty, it doesn't matter whether the President is Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. If a President is making an unwise choice in foreign relations, and if he is lying to Congress and the voters, party loyalty should not matter.

Our democratic republic provides us much more freedom than we would otherwise have, but it also makes us responsible for its government. We can't have it both ways The Consititution cannot guarantee honest or wise leaders. We must constantly watch them and hold them accountable, remembering that power tends to corrupt, and we must not be surprised when corruption happens.

We must also remember that politicians are not inherently wiser or more intelligent than everyone else. We have the tools at hand to supervise elected officials: a free press and freedom of speech enabling us to strongly influence our government even between elections.

When there was time to stop the Iraq invasion before it started, our Congress let us down, the news media sould have investigated and reported the facts more thoroughly, but in the end, we let ourselves down.