President Bush has initiated the most important debate in the world today, and it's not about Iraq. It's about truth.

Not long ago, European diplomats were accusing the president of simplisme. They hated his black-and-white, good-and-evil characterization of the world. In their view, morality doesn't matter because life is riddled with ambiguities.

This may sound like world-weary wisdom, but it's actually infantile cowardice -- the equivalent of hiding beneath the blanket until the bad guys vanish. George Bush repeatedly has torn away the blanket and told his colleagues to grow up. Look at the world as it is -- and deal with it.

The appeal to truth has two consequences. First, it forces us to confront the vivid reality of evil, and fight back -- not by storming the cafes and public stages, but taking careful measure of our enemies. Second, that challenge exposes us to considerable risk, but it also requires us to show how good and heroic we really are.

You don't save the world by hiding. You save it by taking a stand. It's that simple.