The United States has ordered the U.N. inspectors to leave Iraq. It is the first clear signal that the diplomatic charade that the Bush administration has been trying to orchestrate is over and the war is set to begin. It now occurs to me that the rightness or wrongness of this war will now be judged on two factors -- the number of U.S. casualties (Iraqi casulaties are irrelevant) and whether or not the U.S. economy will bounce back after it is all over. The stock market already shot up 200 points today in eager anticipation of a quick war. I can only hope that the war does go well, that Iraq's army scatters at the first hint of confrontation and that Saddam either flees or is quickly dispatched. But even if that is the case, the aftermath is still likely to be an ugly, drawn-out and expensive affair.
I have never been convinced that this war is necessary. Perhaps if Bush were capable of defending his position in a one-on-one interview with an aggresive reporter the way that Britain's Tony Blair does here, then I would feel a little better. But I can't even imagine a U.S. TV reporter being that tough and/or knowlegeable in any case, so maybe it is not entirely Bush's fault.