Sorry, no time for SDMB in the last couple of days :(.
When I started this thread, I was actually more interested in what those in the moderate to peace-embracing camp stood. If any such person is still reading, perhaps they’d like to weigh in? For the moment though, onto defending against the usual hawkish distortions.
First, I find it very amusing how both of you see the Times as having at last capitulated to Bush. It is much more accurate to say that Bush capitulated to the Times when he sought a UN resolution, and continues to capitulate to their very mainstream, middle-of-the-road position as his administration works towards getting a second resolution. My point, of course, isn’t that Bush has been swayed by the Times. No, he’s been swayed by public opinion: particularly public opinion among supporters such as Britain and Italy where there is strong resistance to war even with a UN resolution.
By consistently urging UN collaboration the Times has more or less hewed to the sentiments of the majority of the American people. So this gloating about the Times’s and its position is most misplaced (though perhaps only to be expected from such open-minded readers as yourselves ).
What has changed, or rather developed in the Times’s editorial positon (which is not, of course, the same position as each of its various columnists, nor necessarily discernible in its many articles on Iraq) is that the Times now seems to be urging European allies to support the Bush administration’s position that enough time has been given to show whether or not Saddam is complying or means to in the very near future. At the same time, though, the Times remains extremely loath to see the US take proceed with no further UN support. Hence the complexity of this editorial–to which Sam does little justice when he summarizes it in such dismissive fashion. This really is the heart of the problem for a great many Americans and for leaders such as Tony Blair. (My personal views are different but I’m not arguing my own position in this thread.)
december, you quote the Times here:
“If occupation forces unearth proof of a large nuclear program, stockpiles of terrifying biological weapons and real evidence of serious collusion between Saddam Hussein and international terrorists, many of the international leaders who are riding the crest of anti-Americanism now will start looking very foolish.”
and then you offer your own comment thus:
"This is a point that some conservative have been making, e.g. Dick Morris, who wrote, “If Bush is right, the left in the United States will be discredited for many decades to come.”
I’d like to stress that the Times hypothetical is, shall we say, very hypothetical. Real evidence of serious collusion between Saddam Hussen and international terrorists is particularly unlikely to emerge in the wake of the war.
On the other hand, to switch from speculative hypothetical scenarios to something the Times doesn’t say–but which you seem to have in mind–it is quite possible and perhaps likely that the war itself will not be very long.
If your point is that US left will be discredited by a short war, you are making the wrong argument in the wrong context. By and large the left has not been arguing that the war will be long and protracted. Of coure, the left (not to mention the center which has diverged from the Bush line) is not monolithic has made many arguments. Chief among them though are these: 1) that the occupation and "nation-building"of Iraq will be long and drawn out and that the US can only conduct it effectively with a maximum of international support; 2) that the war will cause such resentment in the Muslim world as to exacerbate terrorism and play into the hands of Osama and co.; 3) that the preemptive doctrine is deeply antithetical to what the US has stood for throughout its history and that, therefore, any war without UN support will damage US relations with allies and increase anti-US sentiment, not only among terrorists but within what is called the free world. (There are other arguments but these are the most common and the most mainstream.)
It’s true that if the war is short there’ll be a short-term gain for Bush and his supporters, and perhaps a short term loss for detractors. But the aftermath, by its very nature, will not and can’t be short.