The Washington Post explains the pro-war stance taken on its editorial page to its readers today in an unsigned editorial, and they do a better job than the Bush administration of clearly articulating the pro-war case. No crap about the moral righteousness of deposing the evil dictator or of fantastical links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Rather, they go straight for the jugular. Iraq agreed to disarm, and has refused to do so. If they continue to refuse, then we must compel them to disarm. That’s the best argument in favor of war under the present circumstances.

As a liberal, I’d like to buy into the moral argument that the Iraqi people deserve a better government and that they should enjoy freedom, liberty, and all of the civil rights that John Ashcroft wants to take away from Americans, but it’s impossible for me to believe that we really care about that sort of thing.

President Bush has also fully embraced the neocon argument that kicking out Saddam and installing a wonderful new government in Iraq will be the rising tide that lifts all boats in the Middle East, infecting everyone with democracy. That sounds nice, but I kind of wonder if there’s any evidence to back it up. I mean, that’s the best possible outcome, but wishing won’t make it so.

Update: in other news, 122 Labour House of Commons members voted against war in the UK yesterday. At least in the UK elected officials are debating what the government should do rather than lining up behind Tony Blair with their mouths shut.