Last week, I argued that the president has a moral, political and military obligation to lay out his case against Saddam Hussein, and soon. Today, the other side of the ledger -- the anti-war movement here and abroad.

The key feature of the movement is self-proclaimed niceness -- the conceit that protesters alone have figured out that peace is better than war. Sorry, folks: Everybody gets that one.

The other major line of argument is that if we proceed against Saddam Hussein, others might not like us. This concern underlies the complaints of unilateralism and the warnings of Arab backlash. But these fears are rooted in speculation, not principle -- and in times like this, firm ideals must guide us. Prophecy not only is useless, but it ignores the way ideas and determination shape great events.

Brave men and women in the past have risen up against unjust wars. But this time around, most of the thundering is empty: There's some reactionary anti-Americanism, some fashionable Europhilia and a lot of wishful thinking.

Of course we ought to give peace a chance. But remember, when previous generations tried to wish away tyrants ambitions, millions died.