From the Editor

John Turner

Some of you may think I'm hammering too hard on the point that we must strengthen the intelligence of the electorate if we expect our government to perform more sensibly and equitably. I recognize I'm running against the American propensity to find deep wisdom in the mass of the people. But there are two reasons why I can't abandon the argument. First, there is no other way substantially to enhance government in a nation like ours. If a major portion of the people are ignorant and gullible they will raise to power politicians who pursue foolish and selfish goals. We need to learn that quality of government is the best indication of the intelligence of the people. And lately the quality of our government has not been high. Second, I'm strongly aware of Matthew Arnold's injunction that nothing is learned or understood unless it is repeated often. We can't say too frequently or in too many ways that we the people are responsible for our own political fate and for what our government does to the other people of the world.

I call to your attention James Adler's historical essay on the establishment of Israel. It has a number of powerful statements from major figures of the past. I also remind all of us that regardless of what anyone said in the past it is we who have to make decisions in the present. They have to be based on the realities of today and not exclusively on what should have been done decades or centuries ago.

Sunday's appearance by Senators Christopher Dodd and Chuck Hagel on Face the Nation was strong evidence of the general shift of opinion about the U.S. military presence in Iraq. Both men made criticisms of administration policy that would have been unthinkable from major politicians a year ago. And both said it was unconscionable to leave American soldiers in the midst of a civil war, which they insist is already underway in Iraq. There could scarcely be a clearer illustration of the ancient adage: "Better late than never."

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