Actually, I almost always shuddered when Barack Obama as presidential candidate and my son, who spent a week campaigning for Obama in Ohio (with my enthusiastic blessing), talked of Iraq as the wrong war and Afghanistan as the right war. One reason for my shuddering was that the Iraq war was already in an altered state, much altered. And Afghanistan...well, I didn't think that the crowd that cheered the candidate's (it is true) lapidary words were sincere in their enthusiasm. Most of my fellow liberals can't see any reason for any war. Not even in the Sudan for Darfur, where the stakes are both humanitarian and strategic: Why humanitarian? It's obvious. Why strategic? Because we don't want--and no one should want---the largest country in Africa with more than 40 million people to be captive to barbarism.

But if Afghanistan, which also by now is half-captive to barbarism, is now our burden we need the American people to grasp the issues, to stand behind its president, to know what the real costs--human and material--are and put the reality in the context of our very troubled relations with the world of Islam.

Since I assume that most of you don't read the Wall Street Journal (which with the Financial Times is required reading during the economic calamity, I want to call to your attention Fouad Ajami's essay on today's op ed page. It's called "Obama's Afghan Struggle." I am willing for it to be mine. But I've thought about it long and hard, to coin a phrase. Are you also willing? And have you thought about it long and hard?