The President needs to enunciate clearly what the U.S. is trying to achieve from here on and then give the military the resources necessary to accomplish that mission. Choosing a more limited set of objectives -- which involves handing over power on June 30, holding elections in 2005, and setting up a basic representative government -- may require a modest addition of troops and funding. By contrast, trying to build a genuine Western-style democracy that protects such things as women's rights in the heart of the Middle East is a far more ambitious goal that will require a more extended stay, a much bigger commitment of troops and money, and a multinational effort.
Forthrightness is a lot to ask of any Administration, especially during a Presidential election campaign. But knowing what we are aiming for is crucial to ensure that we will get there.