I was browsing the BBC's Have Your Say forum. One of the posters suggested the idea that wars can only be started by those who are willing to spend the entire war at a distance no greater than, say, 5 kilometres from the front. As impracticable an idea as this is, and he acknowledges that it would never be implemented, it does raise an interesting question. Would, say, Clinton have gone into Kosovo or Bush into Iraq, if their own personal safety had been on the line? I think the same logic applies to those who send suicide bombers to their deaths. Come on, Osama, show us your mettle. Join the next suicide bombing. For me, the above ideas tell us something revealing about leaders. We elect people on the basis of soundbites, their ability to "charm" us, their ability to promise the earth and yet they are never accountable. We pick people for their "homespun" qualities. I don't want a leader who is homespun or charming. I want one who is exceptional. That person should be in the top percentile for intelligence. They should be obsessively hard working, ruthless but compassionate (i.e. willing to make the hard decisions, but doing so with a heavy heart), morally sound, they should understand complex ideas, other nations and cultures, they should constantly look to learn. When it comes to sending other people to die, they should understand the ramifications of war. Perhaps those who haven't served should be made to watch the uncensored footage of war with its flying limbs, screaming, death and so on. The only leader I can think of who actually fought in proper combat in recent times was Bush senior. I think that made him more thoughtful and meant that he didn't engage in killing for the sake of it. He was someone who carried a lot more respect in the world as a result. What do people think? How do we get to a point where leaders are statesmen again, as they used to be?