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Monday, January 27, 2003

Marching as to war.

President Bush better have an amazing speech prepared for tomorrow night. His administration says time is running out for Saddam Hussein, but he hasn't convinced most people that all the hurry is justified. Bill Keller says Bush has "mostly done the right things," but with "a disheartening lack of finesse." That's an understatement.

Thomas L. Friedman says that Bush has picked the right goal, but hasn't been honest about what it means. Fixing what we break won't be easy, quick, or cheap. "[T]he president must level with the American people that we may indeed be buying the Arab Yugoslavia" — "an artificial country congenitally divided among Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, Nasserites, leftists and a host of tribes and clans that can only be held together with a Saddam-like iron fist." Friedman believes war may be inevitable — and could bring about some positive outcomes — but only if the rest of the world is willing to pitch in. Otherwise, the U.S. could end up playing Saddam's role, which no one wants. Bush could still bring the international community on-board, but his disdain for multilateralism won't help.

After listening to administration officials make the case for war this weekend, Fred Kaplan expresses grave doubts about the case against Saddam. "Do we have the goods on Saddam?" he asks. If so, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, and others didn't really say. Even the hawkish New Republic expressed amazement at chief-of-staff Andrew Card's weekend presentation:

"The case is compelling that Saddam has had weapons of mass destruction, probably has them today, and is anxious to build a stockpile so he can use them." The case is compelling. Saddam probably has weapons of mass destruction. That's the White House's new argument for invading Iraq?

Bush could have made quite a case against Saddam, if he had been willing to build a coalition against him slowly and intelligently. I can't wait to hear how we'll embark on nation-building through tax cuts.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 27 January 2003 at 5:22 PM

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