Iraq is a stumbling block for Democrats. They tend to view every foreign policy issue through their self-stained Iraq lens. Their manufactured fixation over whether we were justified in attacking Iraq obscures their view of the war on terror and the magnitude of the global terrorist threat.
Democrats often charge that if President Bush just hadn't attacked Iraq, the United States would have ample resources to deal with other threats in the world, like Iran and North Korea. Because our military assets are tied up in Iraq we can't effectively deter dictatorial mischief from Kim Jong Il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This criticism is disingenuous, since Democrats probably wouldn't favor tough action against either tyrant anyway. Besides, President Bush is nowhere close to issuing military threats against either one of these rogue regimes. While he wisely won't rule out the military option, he has been emphasizing diplomatic solutions, as well as sanctions.
He has steadfastly insisted on a multilateral approach to both nations against opposition from Democrats who have mystifyingly demanded that we elevate the stature of their dictators by meeting alone with each of them. President Bush has refused to exclude from the talks the other nations, who, according to Condoleezza Rice, arguably have a greater immediate stake in them than we do.
Democrats, on the other hand, have demonstrated the insincerity of their criticism of Bush for "going it alone" against Iraq, not only because it is patently and empirically false, but because they obviously have no philosophical affinity to multilateralism, nor any fear of alienating our allies as they claim. The only thread of consistency in their approach to diplomacy is their unwavering opposition to President Bush.
But if our diplomatic efforts and sanctions ultimately fail, will we be in a weaker position to deal with the Iranian and North Korean threats than we would have been had we not attacked Iraq?
It's certainly easy to jump to the superficial conclusion that our military demands in Iraq would make military action and thus deterrence-aimed threats of military action against either nation much more difficult, though many experts doubt that action against either would involve "boots on the ground."