While I do not agree with Josh Marshall that there is really a case to take out Saddam I do agree with the two points he raises today:
The administration has already done massive damage to our standing in the world. And they've managed to create facts on the ground -- intentionally and unintentionally -- which make pulling back arguably more dangerous than pushing ahead. The question is no longer what the ideal thing to do is. It's more aptly described as which of the really bad alternatives is best to choose given the jam the administration has backed us into.
Yes, there has been massive damage done. And it will take years to undo.
And, yes, there is probably an overwhelming perception in the whitehouse that they have committed too much to be able to pull back without firing a shot (of course, we should not forget that they have not stopped firing since the cease fire).
Yesterday, Josh Marshall notes that Bush did not have any money in the budget for Afghanistan. Probably just about what we can expect from Bush and company in Iraq if they end up mucking up that sandbox.
In today's NY Times Patrick Tyler argues that Bush and advisors want to avoid an open break with the Security Council, etc:
But the concept of open-ended inspections is unacceptable to Mr. Bush and could well lead the United States soon to take the step that the president and his advisers � indeed most Americans � would certainly like to avoid: an open break with the Security Council and the formation of a "coalition of the willing" that would divide not only the United Nations, but also Europe and Asia.
Their behavior, though, strikes me as that of folks who will only play if you are in complete sycophantic agreement with them. And, if not, will take their toys and go play by themselves.