A Quick Fisk
Bill Quick is wrong. Let's go point-by-point.
We've established the principle that we will (must?) bribe self-interested or openly inmical nations for their permission to defend ourselves.
Wrong. We've shown cash-strapped Russia that we won't sell them down the river. France, as usual, is just along for the ride. But just because the French will get theirs is no reason to paint Putin into a corner.
We've established the principle that the United Nations has a veto over any US use of force, even in self defense.
Wrong. Without UN permission, we'll go in anyway. With UN permission, we'll have finally bent that organization to our knee for the first time since the 1950 outbreak of the (First?) Korean War. Bill is further wrong in trying to pin UN-boosterism on anything he's read here. I think the nicest thing I've said about the Security Council is that it's something close to a tragic necessity.
We've established the principle that the feelings of the Saudi princes are much more important than the safety of Americans, apparently because almost no Americans speak English as well as the Saudi ambassador to the US.
There's a lot of truth to this one. No one with a functioning brain particle or three is happy with our continued good relations with Saudi Arabia -- although Riyadh is coming around a bit and relations are not as cozy as they once were. Yet Bill seeks to sort me in with the White House Saudi appeasers? Wrong.
We've established that "Axis of Evil" doesn't really mean "Axis of Evil." More like "Axis of Naughtiness" (unless you have nukes, in which case we probably won't call you anything at all any more).
Wrong. One down (sometime in 7-9 weeks) and two to go. The one best solved by war will have been solved by war. The one best left to internal revolt will be (ahem) revolting. The one that needs to be managed will still be being managed. War in Iraq isn't desirable (no war is) -- but it is necessary. Bill here seems to make a mistake similar to the anti-war loons who argue that if we need to invade Iraq then we need to invade North Korea, Iran, Rwanda, France, and Berkeley.
We've established that even if we should by some chance happen to invade Iraq and topple Saddam, we will still have to get permission from a laundry list of international organizations and nations to pursue the War on Terror any further.
Wrong. We won't invade Iraq "by some chance." Hitler didn't stumble into Poland by mistake, nor will 3rd ACR race up the Tigris just to see what's on the other side. And what is this laundry list? There's the UN, and. . .um, help me out here. NATO? Nope, they already invoked Article V. The OAS? Don't recall ever asking them much. Microsoft? Kissinger Associates?
We've established that the entire notion of "rope-a-dope" was ludicrous in the first place. The whole point of the supposed strategy was to so confuse Saddam Hussein that he wouldn't be prepared when our might military fist struck him (in, presumably, complete surprise). In fact, everybody from Saddam's janitor on up will know when the US finally lumbers into action - if it ever does.
Wrong. Rope-a-Dope (for which I've already apologized) originally applied to Arafat -- then it just grew. And what's this about the US military lumbering into action? Whatever this next operation ends up being called, it'll make Desert Storm/Saber look like it was done in slow-motion. Regardless, if Saddam is half as confused about Bush's intentions as Bill seems to be, then it's working just fine.
We've established that we will kiss the Arafatian ass, and prevent the Israelis from whipping same, although we will send spine-tingling frowns in Yassir's direction, all in the name of creating "support" in an Arab world that hates us, for our always coming, never arriving Iraq attack.
Wrong. Who is this Arafat person of whom Bill speaks? Even news junky that I am, I sure don't see him much anymore. Sure, I'd prefer him dead -- but apparently Israel isn't yet ready to take that step. And, frankly, if keeping him oh-so-nominally in charge a while longer makes things easier for us, then I suppose it's best he keeps sucking air.
Here's the second graf, saved for last:
Which means there is at least some chance that those who unswervingly predicted such an attack, especially the "rope-a-dopers" will have the same chance as a stopped clock of being right - and for the same reason.
This site's first "unswerving" prediction was that war would not start before August or September. Back in July, I stated (in the Drinks) that any guess would be merely a guess. Things looked close to a go in October, but deployments, weapons production (we'd still like more JDAMs and cruise missiles), and domestic politics didn't add up to war.
But now as various reports come in, it becomes obvious that barring a Baghdad coup, the war -- already started -- will begin in earnest sometime shortly after the New Year. February 1, 1pm EST, is my best guess. Could be sooner, could be later, although I'd guess no later than mid-April.
In any case, even if Bill's stopped watch analogy is correct, it's still arguably better than being wrong the entire time, and for mostly the wrong reasons.