Raines & Co. must realize they’ve lost, wasting 485 words to say exactly nothing. The lede:
The United States, nearly isolated, is about to wage a war in the name of the world community that opposes it. The meeting that President Bush held yesterday in the Azores with the prime ministers of Britain and Spain made clear that within a day or so, the president is expected to announce that he is sending troops into Iraq. He declared that today would be the last chance for any other solution. If so, let the day not be wasted.
Let’s do a little re-write, more in accordance with reality:
The United States, standing with just three of its allies, is about to wage war in the name of the world community that refuses to support its own UN resolutions.
The column slowly winds down into nothing but platitudes, ending with this bold stand:
As Mr. Bush stood with the prime ministers of Spain, Britain and Portugal yesterday in the Azores, there was much talk of a strong Atlantic alliance. But overstating threats and dismissing the concerns of friends does not build a strong alliance. No matter what happens today, that is exactly what we will need tomorrow.
Yawn. Allies to do what, exactly? Allies, like France, who openly side with the opposition aren’t allies at all. Allies, like Germany, who play to their voters worst anti-American fears are hardly much better.
But we’ve been over this ground before. Let’s move on.
Bill Safire offers remedies to what could be an ugly post-war period. Bob Herbert gripes it didn’t have to be this way, and that it’s all Bush’s fault that it is. Rush to war, and all that. The Safire column at least offers a little novelty, but even die-hard peaceniks are going to have to pick through an awful lot of thin soup to find any meat in Herbert’s piece.