It became clear the nation was finally going to war with Iraq this week when the New York Times pulled two dozen reporters off the Augusta National Golf Club story. In a speech to the nation on Monday night, President Bush gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to get out of Baghdad, warning that the American military was poised to remove him forcibly.
Many still held out hope that Saddam would abandon power without a fight, primarily so we could listen to liberals explain how a peaceful resolution was brought about by their urgent demands that we work through the United Nations, and had nothing to do with the fact that Saddam was surrounded by 200,000 American troops.
In response to Bush's ultimatum, Saddam's son, Uday Hussein, said Bush was stupid. He said Bush wanted to attack Iraq because of his family. And he said American boys would die. At least someone is finding the New York Times editorial page helpful these days.
In angry harangues largely indistinguishable from the one by Uday Hussein, the Democrats were also hopping mad at Bush. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., spent 40 minutes detailing Saddam Hussein's manifest cruelties and violations of all human norms. Without breaking a sweat, Lieberman then said he could understand why the French were not bothered by these indisputable barbarisms: It was Bush's failure of "diplomacy." Bush, the clod, had failed to convince the inconvincible.
Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said: "I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country." Mostly, the Democrats were saddened that America was about to win a war.
With the nation on the verge of a glorious military triumph, liberals have had to put their predictions of a Vietnam "quagmire" on the back burner for a few weeks. Instead, they have turned with a vengeance to attacking "American arrogance." The day after President Bush's speech, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius spoke of self-defeating "American arrogance." The Post quoted "a senior U.S. official" (in newspaper jargon: "a janitor at the Pentagon") who warned of "a degree of hubris unprecedented in American history."