But what does Daschle think Bush was employing diplomacy for? For the last month or more, Bush wasn't employing diplomacy in order to forestall war, he was employing diplomacy in order to corral more allies for a war that was going to happen so long as Saddam continued to flout his obligations. "Failed diplomacy" didn't force war, it merely forced war with fewer allies.
Surely, Daschle doesn't believe that more deft diplomacy would have convinced Saddam Hussein to finally disarm and abide by 17 U.N. resolutions? Surely, he doesn't believe that if Colin Powell had only succeeded in winning passage of an 18th resolution telling Saddam "for the last time we really mean it" that -abracadabra! -Saddam would suddenly become the Arab Gandhi and shed his weapons of mass destruction like a snake shedding its skin? Twelve years of sanctions, no fly zones, cruise missile attacks and international condemnation amount to a whole lot of "diplomacy" in my book.
We know Daschle is aware of this because twice in the last five years he's supported a U.S. president to use force against Iraq. In 1998, he defended President Clinton's Iraq policy to reporters: "Look, we have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so? … This is the key question. And the answer is, we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."
Again, last fall, Daschle supported the use of force when he voted to authorize President Bush to disarm Iraq if he deemed it necessary. And with that vote in his pocket, George W. Bush went to the United Nations and extracted a 15-0 vote from the Security Council telling Saddam -for the 17th time -to disarm.
Saddam refused, and the president tried to get the French and others to support him. He failed at that because the French showed their cards: opposing Bush is more important than their integrity. It's sad to say, but it looks like Daschle is holding the same cards.