Since the New York Times editorial page is the political Left's "paper of record" and thus fairly representative of the liberal anti-war sentiment in America today, I thought I'd analyze its recent missive "Saying No to War."
The crux of their position is "in the face of United Nations opposition ... long-running, stepped-up weapons inspections" is "a better option" than invading Iraq. "By adding hundreds of additional inspectors" and "using the threat of force" "the United States could obtain much of what it was originally hoping to achieve."
Sorry, but "obtain(ing) much" won't get it -- getting close doesn't work with mass destruction weapons. One event is too many, thank you. And "using the threat of force" begins to lose its deterrent effect if you never make good on the threat, which we didn't for 12 years, even when Saddam sent the inspectors packing.
The Left has consistently opposed troop deployment, yet that's what got Saddam to let the inspectors back in. Now they want to take advantage of our troop presence to deter his noncompliance -- as if that's what they favored all along. But if they'd had their way, we'd still be mollycoddling and our troops would be stateside.
President Bush, they say, has "talked himself into a corner" by demanding regime change, "making it much harder for Washington to adopt" stepped-up inspections. Bush hasn't talked himself into a corner. He's exactly where he wants to be. He's been clear that you can't achieve disarmament and eliminate the Iraqi WMD threat without regime change. The Times would be compelled to agree with this if they followed to their logical conclusion their own assumptions that Saddam "can never be trusted to disarm on his own accord" and "history shows that inspectors can be misled." President Bush would prefer that the United Nations remain on board, but he understands that his constitutional duty to protect and defend America doesn't include a U.N. approval contingency clause.
The Times says "there are circumstances under which" we'd "have to act "militarily no matter what the Security Council said," such as if America were attacked. Preemptive attacks, however, are presumably a worse option to them than national suicide. Under their logic we could not attack Iraq if it had nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at us and Saddam had his finger on the button.