The New York Times, September 1, 2005
It is tempting to see continuity with the American character and foreign policy tradition in the Bush administration's response to 9/11, and many have done so. Americans have tended toward the forcefully unilateral when we have felt ourselves under duress; and we have spoken in highly idealistic cadences in such times, as well. Nevertheless, neither American political culture nor any underlying domestic factors have determined the key decisions in foreign policy since Sept. 11.
If the United States withdraws prematurely, Iraq will slide into greater chaos. That would set off a chain of unfortunate events that will further damage American credibility around the world and ensure that the United States remains preoccupied with the Middle East to the detriment of other important regions - Asia, for example - for years to come.
We do not know what outcome we will face in Iraq. We do know that four years after 9/11, the whole foreign policy of the United States seems destined to rise or fall on the outcome of a war only marginally related to the source of what befell America on that day. There was nothing inevitable about this. There is everything to be regretted about it.