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Jewish World Review Feb. 21, 2003 / 19 Adar I, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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The first casualty of Iraq war: Liberal credibility | It doesn't matter what the polls say right now about the war in Iraq. When we invade, we either will or will not find what Secretary of State Colin Powell says is there. If we do not find it, President Bush will be in serious trouble. If we do, all of his critics will be.

Unlike so many issues in public policy, this one will be determined shortly one way or another. One may have to wait years before we can determine if a legislative course succeeds or fails. Usually, by the time the verdict is in, the voters have shifted their attention far away.

But Iraq either will be found to have the chemical and biological weapons we fear it has and the incipient nuclear capacity or these nightmares will prove to have been paranoid. The fact that the denouement will take place in a few weeks, while the whole world is watching, makes this outcome a seminal one for our politics and the new world order.

My money's on President Bush. He wouldn't be pushing us toward this war unless he felt he had the goods on Saddam.

If Bush is right, the left in the United States will be discredited for many decades to come. In the opposite of the Vietnam syndrome, where the left proved to be correct - it didn't make a bit of difference in the cold war whether we won or lost in Vietnam - it will now be proven massively, totally wrong.

With each weapons lab and bomb factory our troops find, the credibility of the left wing of the Democratic Party will go down the drain, not to rise again for many years. In retrospect, they will seem as misguided as the appeasers of Munich were and their political fortunes will be just as doomed.

Politically, in the United States, Iraq will become a term like "Munich" to debunk the appeasers. Like "Vietnam" it will be a place that becomes a lesson. It will stand as the prime example of how reflexive opposition to violence undermines the long term cause of world peace. Those who are now marching for peace are on their last march.

Soon, the reality of the world around them will force its way into their consciousness and the shame of the inaction they urged will keep them indoors in the future when the peace trumpet summons them again.

The United Nations Security Council will go the way of the General Assembly. The takeover of the larger body by a myriad of tiny nations with no power and less credibility doomed it to the role of a by-stander when U.N. action was called for.

Now, the subservience of the U.N. Security Council to the veto and voice of nations like France will make it irrelevant as well, just as the Soviet vetoed marginalized it during the Cold War.

Nor will NATO survive the ravaging of the French and German intransigence. No longer will the alliance be the forum for joint decision making about Western military action.

The lesson of the Iraq War will be that the world is unipolar and that anyone who wants a voice needs to be heard at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The European Union headquarters in Brussels won't do and the U.N. headquarters in New York will be marginalized. The only forum at which to speak will be at the forum of American foreign policy decision-making.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair understands the new reality. By flying to Texas and Washington, Blair shows that he realizes that it is only by injecting himself into the U.S. decision-making context that he can influence the outcome of events. It will be a very long time before France or Germany recover their voices after we find the weapons caches in Iraq.

President Bush's poll ratings going into the war are slipping. His job approval appears to have dipped below 60 percent, less than Bill Clinton had during his entire second term. But they will be very high coming out of Iraq. And that's what will matter.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.


02/19/03: Old Europe's last hurrah
02/14/03: Corzine throws down gauntlet on Wall St. fraud
02/12/03: An exile deal for Saddam
02/07/03: The Dems give up the House
02/05/03: France: Saddam's ally
02/03/03: War critics will suffer
02/30/03: Even by Clinton standards, it's sheer chutzpah
01/24/03: Rebirth of the balanced budget Republican
01/22/03: Next to Bubba, Dubya's got it good
01/16/03: End racism in affirmative action
01/13/03: The new swing voter
01/10/03: Political e-mailing comes of age
01/07/03: In Dem race: Home field no advantage
12/31/02: Hey, Hillary: Want to appear like a stateswomyn? Stay silent
12/19/02: Kerry in the lead
12/19/02: Lieberman the frontrunner
12/17/02: In defense of Lott
12/02/02: An issue for Bush: Drugs
11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2002, Dick Morris