Maybe it’s my admittedly-biased news filters, but three items in today’s news make me believe that, outside the Bush die-hards, opposition to war is growing and the trend will be hard to reverse:
1. Blair’s ‘evidence’ shown as fiction ( Reuters):
The latest in a series of British documents focusing on the alleged threat from Saddam and rallying support for a possible U.S.-led wa… was praised by Secretary of State Colin Powell in the U.N. Security Council Wednesday. It claimed to draw upon “a number of sources, including intelligence material.” But Friday, officials admitted whole swathes were lifted word for word — grammatical slips and all — from a student thesis. Outraged politicians jumped on the revelation to accuse Blair of misleading the public and said it cast doubt on the credibility of his whole case against Saddam.
2. News media get tours effectively refuting Powell WMD ‘photo evidence’ ( Reuters):
At the Falluja facility, run by the government’s Al Rafah company, Ali Jassem, an official, said the site was the first visited by U.N. weapons inspectors when they resumed work in Iraq on November 27.”The inspectors visited this site and searched it. They found that everything inside falls under permitted activities,” Jassem said. He said the inspectors had returned to the site several times since, the last of which was on February 4, a day before Powell’s presentation. The official said the experts, who have attended four static tests for the al-Samoud missile with a range of 150 km, had looked at the stand and found it consistent with permitted activities….
Reporters were taken to tour inside the facility and shown the two stands. The hulks of large missiles destroyed by previous inspection teams were strewn in the site. At Al Moatassem, chief engineer Karim Jabbar said Powell’s charge was “a false allegation” and said the facility was producing parts for the short-range Al Fatah missiles. “We were surprised (by Powell’s charge) because there is nothing banned at the factory. It is a declared site…The inspectors have already visited it 10 times,” Jabbar said.

3. The French, Russians and Germans (the Germans speaking side-by-side with the Vatican) have all hardened their position in the past 24 hours (maybe after they read the xenophobic ravings of Richard Perle?) and will clearly veto/oppose both a war and a ‘second resolution’ supporting anything stronger than more extensive inspections. More and more leaders (and voters) seem to be acknowledging that Saddam is contained and that, as long as that is the case, he and his ‘regime’ pose less of a security threat to the world than Al Qaida, North Korea, and others too numerous to mention.
Even Blix acknowledged today that Iraq is ‘making an effort to cooperate’.
Maybe I’m a die-hard optimist, but notwithstanding Bush’s ‘game is over’ blather (and it’s disconcerting that he sees this as nothing more than a game), I think by the time Bush decides to attack (i.e. week after next) his ‘coalition of allies’ will be whittled down to a discredited Blair, a few fledgling E.Europe nations that owe the U.S. a favour, and a couple of disreputable leaders like Italy’s corrupt Berlusconi. Whether such a band of thieves and naives is enough to convince the U.S. people that there is broad global support for a devastating, divisive and expensive war, only time will tell. And although Bush keeps telling us it’s running out, time is now all we have, and I think it’s on our side.

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