In the spirit of democratic dialogue:
1) Insofar as Bush's policies have deterred new terrorist actions against the United States he deserves to be commended.
2) The willingness of our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq to risk their lives in defense of freedom and democracy deserves our sincere admiration. That's why steps taken by the Bush administration to reduce their combat pay and restrict their medical benefits are deplorable.
3) Success in apprehending al-Qaida operatives has been largely due to the cooperation of our allies (e.g., Germany and Pakistan). Bush's policies have alienated these allies, thereby diminishing our effectiveness in the war against terrorism.
4) Democracy in Iraq is good in itself and also serves our national security. Having committed ourselves, it is imperative that we succeed. We must be prepared to bear the costs of doing so. But this means all of us (not only our soldiers) must sacrifice. We cannot afford to spend $87 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan while at the same time drastically reducing the amount of taxes paid by the wealthiest members of our society - unless we are prepared to mortgage our children's futures through deficit spending. Furthermore, shoddy diplomacy has unnecessarily increased the military and financial burdens we must bear.