Bush White House can't make an enduring peace without diplomacyFree speech is often a casualty of war. We've seen evidence of that this week when Republican congressional leaders pounced on Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for his criticism of the failure of diplomacy by the Bush White House. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is seldom visible on anything, emerged to upbraid Daschle. Speaking in French, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told Daschle to shut his mouth.

Unlike most members of Congress, Daschle is a military veteran. So is Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who has criticized the Bush administration. These two men need not certify their credentials as Americans. But that is the realm we have now entered.

It is no secret that the Bush team has departed from the path worn by presidents from Dwight Eisenhower onward. As The New York Times said Tuesday, "Allies have been devalued and military force overvalued."

With American troops in Iraq, we are at war. But history tells us that the next big choice for this nation is how we make the peace. For an administration that has been so reluctant and inept at diplomacy, that is an enormous question.

Leaders of the president's party can shout and impugn the motives of their critics, but the question won't go away.

History waits for an answer.


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