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A letter to the US President

The former US ambassador to the UN has written an open letter to George Bush, published in the Washington Post:

"Dear Mr President: As soon as the midterm elections are over - and regardless of their outcome - you will have to make the most consequential decision of your presidency, probably the most complicated any president has had to make since Lyndon Johnson decided to escalate in Vietnam in 1965, and far more difficult than your decisions after September 11, 2001. Then, you rallied a nation in shock, overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and confronted Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs - acting in all cases with self-confidence and overwhelming national approval.

Now all four projects are in peril. With far less public support and time running out on your presidency, you must reverse the recent decline in Afghanistan, get North Korea back to the six-party talks, isolate a cocky, dangerous Iran that thinks events are going its way and, above all, figure out what to do with Iraq. So allow me to offer some very unsolicited suggestions on that war.

Broadly speaking, you have three choices: "Stay the course", escalate or start to disengage from Iraq while pressing hard for a political settlement. I will argue for the third course, not because it is perfect but because it is the least bad option."

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