(continued from the previous post)
I've asked the same questions myself, of course, but in a different way: If the case for invading Iraq is so compelling, why did the Administration contantly toss out so many flimsy justifications and dubious evidence?
Seriously, one of the things that's annoyed and distressed me all along about this Adminstration's tendency to spin any circumstance, argument or development into just another reason to launch a war on Iraq is that the multiplicity of arguments a) tends to weaken the others and 2)* tends to confuse even those who might otherwise have agreed. If the Administration had spent the past year making clear that its intent was the liberation of the Iraqi people--with no moonshine about al Qaeda, aluminum tubes or duct-taped model airplanes--it'd probably not only enjoy more domestic and international support, but also likely have secured UN authorization to boot.
Indeed, I've long argued that the Administration's various security justifications--Saddam is a threat, he's six months away from having the Bomb, might give WMDs to al Qaeda, yadda yadda yadda--never did stand up to scrutiny. And recent developments suggest that if anything, invading Iraq motivates other nations to get their own nuclear weapons as a deterrent to us invading them (think North Korea).
But if Bush had focused his obsession to invade as a constant call to free the Iraqi people, complete with a credible blueprint for a free Iraq, he could well have brought many more people on board, both domestically and internationally, and avoided the suspicion so much of the world holds right now of American hegemony.
In other words, the French (or whomever) might well be comfortable with vetoing a resolution authorizing force to disarm Iraq of WMDs, but might well be cajoled into supporting--or at least not opposing--a resolve to liberate the people of Iraq, if that were the clear, consistent statement of American intent. But the Administration's rationale-of-the-week approach left it in the position where nations like France or Russia could choose which justification to oppose, knowing that whatever it's talking about the Bush Administration really just intends to invade. The Bush Administration's approach has indeed weakened the US internationally, and at a time when we can ill afford it.
*props to Mad About You.