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Kosovo: Risks & Responsibilities

For our country, it's gut-check time. Kosovo, that faraway place with the strange-sounding name, makes it so. Is the savage, heartbreaking, infuriating situation there worth our time and our treasure - and putting at risk the lives of some of our best, very best, young men and women?

If so, what, exactly, are we to do? How best to do it? If we are to get in deeper than we already are, how do we do it? For what exact purpose? And how do we get out? When? How? What is the exit strategy?

Also, who is to help us? How much? And how long can we count, really count, on them?

These are all difficult questions. To ask them is not to suggest answers. It is to say that this is the time, these are the hours for thoughtful consideration by our nation's top leaders, and by each individual citizen.

"Too faraway and I don't know enough about it," is not acceptable.

The United States is a world leader - in many ways, the world leader. We reap the benefits, which are many, and we have the responsibilities, which are also many.

The price of freedom is constant vigilance. The price of leadership is wise decision- making.

Big trouble - including, sometimes, big wars - often begins in small, out-of-the-way places such as Kosovo.

Early, decisive action sometimes can result in large, long-lasting and far-reaching benefits. Ill-prepared, not very well thought-out plunging into such difficulties sometimes results in national disgrace, if not disaster. Such is the dilemma of what, if anything, to do in Kosovo.