I suspect we would have to go to war with Iraq at some point. Now is not the time. It only looks like it is the time because we started the credibility clock: when you start banging the drum about the credibility of sanctions and the UN, you force the action forward, whether or not the time is right.
We have paid enormously in international credibility and goodwill. The diplomatic ineptitude of this administration will cost us for decades to come. We will pay in allied relationships, in moral authority, and most importantly in the safety of our people. It may very well be the beginning of the end of the American era.
The Iraqi regime is terrible. Saddam is a murderous sociopath, living a sociopath’s dream. but there are others who are also terrible, at least one of whom has acquired nuclear weapons.
I could write a litany of second-guesses. The Bush administration should have stayed involved in the Israeli-Palestinean confict, and participated in a more even-handed way. They should have–and still should–sustain better focus on Afghanistan. I mean, “We forgot to put it in the budget?” Come on. I could go on.
What matters right now is that the Americans finish their business in Iraq as quickly as possible, and with minimum pain. It matters that the aftermath is handled under international auspices.
I saw Thomas Friedman talk about the aftermath prospects on Jim Lehrer’s show. He said words to the effect that “This could be a very good move, if we handle it right.” I don’t think the Bush administration has handled it right so far. I don’t think there’s evidence that they will do so in the future. I dread the next several years.
And I’m very clear that we have to replace the Bush administration in 2004. Just or not, his election was an historic mistake, and must be corrected.