WHY?….Back from lunch I see via Atrios that the events of the past few days have pushed Josh Marshall over the edge too. And I have email from Sean-Paul Kelley at The Agonist informing me that he’s also thrown in the towel.

So what did it? And to answer Atrios’ question, what took me so long?

The press conference was part of it. Bush was obviously incapable of doing anything more than reciting talking points like a child in sunday school and was deeply unconvincing. And there’s been Glenn Reynolds’ ever increasing disdain for the entire rest of the world, to the point that he seems to have been completely sucked into the loony-right fantasy that American military might can solve all the world’s problems. And this morning, for the first time in quite a while, I happened to stop by Bill Quick’s site and saw this:

What, precisely, do these midgets think they can accomplish without the acquiescence of the “hyper power?”

In today’s world, no meeting of nations deserves the appellation “summit” unless it includes the United States. Foothill, maybe. Even molehill. But not summit.

I just can’t align myself any longer with the folks who think the rest of the world are “midgets” who should be shoved unceremoniously out of the way whenever we feel like it. As my wife put it at lunch today, “We don’t seem to be the America we used to be.”

In short, the pro-war group had every chance to keep me on their side, but their increasing bellicosity and divorcement from reality finally pushed me over the edge. They have no one to blame but themselves.

And what took me so long? Well, sometimes politics makes strange bedfellows. Yes, I knew that the timing was political, and I knew that the al-Qaeda connection was bunk, and I knew that Bush lied about a lot of things. But I also think the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and I understand that sometimes you have to play rough to build support for a difficult decision. So I did my best to put aside my personal dislike for George Bush and his tactics and support the end result.

And to be honest, Tony Blair’s support has been meaningful to me. Sure, he’s a bit of a weasel at times, but he has similar sensibilities to mine and his support for war is obviously sincere and heartfelt. I respect his opinion, and I assume he has access to same levels of information as George Bush and his advisors. So that kept me on board too.

But enough is enough. The ends don’t always justify the means, and the positives of permanently ridding the world of Saddam Hussein no longer outweigh the negatives. So I find myself on the other side of the fence now, while still hoping that eventually we are able to construct a genuine international coalition that will help stabilize global hot spots and make the world a safer place. Sadly, it looks like we will have to wait at least until November 2004 for that process to begin.

UPDATE: Via email, it’s obvious that I’ve left the impression that my change of opinion was largely due to personal dislike of the pro-war partisans. However, as a few people have pointed out, some of the anti-war partisans are also people I probably wouldn’t want to associate with. Fair enough.

So this post shouldn’t be taken too literally. My substantive problem is that my support for war has always been strongly influenced by the likelihood of using it to begin building a better Middle East, and this is something that the U.S. simply can’t do alone. With this in mind, it has become increasingly clear to me that Bush’s implementation of this war is the very one that will prevent it from ultimately being successful. I’ll write more about this later.

UPDATE 2: And here it is.

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