The president has also asked for patience as challenges to the war effort have mounted – a different kind of sacrifice that the public and Congress seems increasingly unwilling to make.
Americans would be willing to sacrifice in real ways if they were asked, says Fred Kagan, a senior analyst at American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. "It's one of the worst failures of the administration, the weakness of its efforts to make it possible for the American people to support its troops."
Soon, Mr. Kagan and other strong supporters of going the distance in Iraq will release a report that among other things will explain why mobilizing the nation in support of the war on terrorism has become so critical – and offer practical ways on how to do it.
Military recruiters have their own solution – enlist. Since the military became an all-volunteer force in 1973, an increasing number of servicemen and women have come from lower-income households.
With few exceptions, the conspicuous absence of the social elite – including celebrities, the upper class, and children of politicians – in the military creates the impression that this war isn't worth fighting, says Charles Moskos, noted military sociologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. "This is the no-sacrifice war."
But if it's not possible to enlist, some say the next best thing is money.
Enter Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut, who last Thursday proposed a new tax to raise money for troops. The "Support Our Troops Tax" would raise $50 billion per year over the next five years to pay for defense and veterans benefits and services. The proposal, coming in the form of an amendment to the fiscal 2008 budget, is what Senator Lieberman calls the need for a "shared sacrifice."
"It's my way of making a larger point that our military went to war but our nation didn't go to war," he says. "And as long as that is true, we are not going to have the success and the victory we need."