Despite what Jonathon Delacour and Joe Duemer may think, I personally feel that the debate over Iraq, for better or worse, is over in America. THEY, the Bush administration, are simply waiting for elections to disappear before beginning the invasion.
Now, Duemer may well be right that the far left and far right will unite in protest against the war. However, since there is no draft and since the energy for effective protests probably comes from young men who fear they may soon be headed off to war, they will continue to be limited to small protests in Portland, Oregon, with aged hippies marching through the streets, soon dissolving into small groups of quaint discontents as protestors head off to get a warming Latte. All rather nostalgic and colorful, but in the end meaningless and ineffective.
I also tend to agree with Jonathons assessment that we should have continued to pursue our attempts to eradicate Al Queda and Bin Laden rather than divert our energies to striking Saddam. While it would have been even better if we could have limited that attempt to police forces, portraying them as the criminals they are rather than as armed combatants in a holy war against the United States, for the most part our attempts to root out Al Queda have been reasonable attempts of people to defend themselves against criminal acts, though I would still argue that caging people for months in Cuba, only to quietly admit that many of them were probably wrongfully incarcerated was just plain immoral, and, more importantly, is unlikely to win many converts to our cause.
Certainly international law and common sense would allow us to pursue those who operate outside the law and strike the innocent with impunity. The war against Saddam will effectively short-circuit that attempt, though, as it is unlikely that America will have the personnel or energy to carry out both wars at the same time.
In the long run, I suspect that our invasion of Iraq will contribute to, not diminish, the Al Queda movement. Does anyone really believe that such an invasion, justified or not, will not further alienate Muslims from the United States? Who, beside the oil-rich ruling classes who have already allied themselves with the Republican administration, can see this as anything but an attempt by the West to impose its will on their Muslim bretheren?
I find myself more and more agreeing with Dave of Times Shadow that the real problem is that no one, no one, has really seen the problem through and figured out an end game. The same stupid administrators who created Bin Ladens myth of Holy Saviour of the Muslim Faith in their earlier attempts to overthrow the evil communist empire in Afghanistan are about to repeat that mistake once again, creating another martyr in the Muslim cause.
Like Israel in earlier battles, we will probably again easily defeat Saddam in this battle and pat ourselves on the back after another Great Victory (One Granada, Two Granada ...). Who can deny it? The real question, of course, the one the Republican Administration neither asks nor answers, is whether we will end up in precisely the same position the Israelis find themselves twenty years after their resounding victories, mired in an on-going struggle that diminishes not only the lives of the Palestinians but of the Israelis themselves.