Earlier this week the defense secretary said, "any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong, can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere". People somewhat unfairly quoted Roosevelt at him: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public". Then today, the president said of those who argue for US withdrawal from Iraq "Many of these folks are sincere and they're patriotic". This is a positive development for public discourse. (Even though withdrawal would be woefully immature). I suspect that democracy has something to do with the exchange and contestation of differing evaluations using reason. The republic is stronger when it brooks dissent.