"The true defeatists today are not those who call for recognizing the facts on the ground in Iraq. The true defeatists are those who believe America is so weak that it must sacrifice its principles to the pursuit of illusory power.

The true pessimists today are not those who know that America can handle the truth about the Administration's boastful claim of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. The true pessimists are those who cannot accept that America's power and prestige depend on our credibility at home and around the world. The true pessimists are those who do not understand that fidelity to our principles is as critical to national security as our military power itself.

And the most dangerous defeatists, the most dispiriting pessimists, are those who invoke September 11th to argue that our traditional values are a luxury we can no longer afford," - John Kerry, last Saturday, uttering the words he never found when it mattered. I guess the 2004 focus-groups told him to stay silent. But better late then never.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.