A reader writes:

You wrote:

If they want a decades-long occupation, they need to say so.

Um, why WOULD they say so?  They know the American public isn't ready for their vision.  It's clear to anyone that they do want a decades-long occupation; why else build a new embassy the size of the Pentagon?

But if they admitted their goal candidly - their desire to leave American troops in Baghdad as long as they've stayed in other countries we've conquered (cf. our base in Rammstein) - the American people would be shocked, and the goal would become unachievable.

For all their talk about bold leadership and the willingness to make unpopular choices, what they really mean is: "We make choices that would be really unpopular if you knew about them."

You must know that expecting them to be honest about their plans is really too much, yes? Their position is, "If we want a decades-long occupation, we need NOT to say so."

This, I think, is partly why we are where we are in Iraq. The president was never candid about what was needed for victory, never provided the requisite resources, and even now, is preferring spin to reality. For some reason, he is too afraid to tell the American people the truth.  In the short run, he got away with it. His Rovian gambit now is to get away with it until he has to leave office. Then he can blame others. That is a way to massage a political reputation. It is no way to run a country or a war.

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