While I'm talking about Max, I should address a claim that he and an enormous number of anti-war protestors are making, which is that the best course is to "pull our boys out". Don't get me wrong: I absolutely and totally sympathize with the sentiment and have nothing but scorn for those who attempt to invalidate them by misinterpreting the idea of patriotism (no links, except to note that it seems like the N.Z. Bear will accept advertising from rather dubious sources). I'd love for it to be that simple.
What I question is whether it really is. What happens if the U.S. military leaves? Will things really get better? Saddam will never submit to inspections again, and the entire region will get the message that the United States is weak, cowardly, and astonishingly stupid. (As opposed to the administration, which is a common mistake: the "patriotism" defense relies on that.) At this point, all that can be done is to try to improve the situation, rebuild the diplomatic ties that were torn asunder starting this war, and make sure that Rumsfeld and the armchair warriors get swiftly removed from any decision-making process for the duration of the war.
Well, that's what needs to be done at the executive level. What needs to be done at the civil level is obvious, assuming that Josh is right. Bush, the neocons, and all the rest of Osama's unwitting puppets cannot be allowed to carry out their plans for WWIII. I had said in the past that the 2002 election was one of the most important in history. I don't know if I was right yet, because they haven't been able to pass that much in the way of hard-right legislation as of yet, and I don't know what a Democratic legislature would have done in this situation. I do know, however, that the 2004 election is even more important, because the American public cannot let this happen. Even if they succeed in building their empire, it will be a betrayal of everything the Republic has ever stood for. If it fails, however, as it most likely will, the situation in Iraq is proof that American military might will not be sufficient to subjugate the entire Muslim world, and America's current allies will not support its bid for imperial glory.
Honestly, I kind of hope that Josh is wrong.