There are presently three views on the subject of a war with Iraq: no, yes, and yes later.

The no group takes the most ridiculous position of all... that we have no right to interfere with another country's internal politics — the anti-regime change argument — and that Saddam Hussein hasn't done anything to warrant an attack, like being personally responsible for Sept. 11.

The yes group says it's long overdue, and that the time to attack is now. They include a lot of people who thought we screwed it up back in '91 when we let Saddam off the hook. The Israelis would also like us to hit him soon so they don't take the brunt of his nuclear bomb if he has time to finish one.

The yes later group is the most interesting, because there are some honest people in this bunch who think we should let the weapons inspectors go into Iraq, get frustrated and leave in protest... while we spend that time lining up allies.

Then there is a second subset of this group that is way less honest. They don't want a war, and they use the weapons inspectors and the gathering allies project as a way to slow the war effort down to a dead halt.

I think the only side in this three-way debate that is completely wrong is the group that says no.

That group evidently wants us to take blow after blow after blow from Saddam and his germ and chem and nuke lab folks, and never quite be able to say that we know who's doing this and that we're going to end it now. They want to turn cheeks endlessly. Near as I can tell, the normal human only has four.

I have more sympathy with the yes later group — the honest ones — because if it is possible to gather allies, obviously that's better. Still, it is not an absolute requirement. We can't let our so-called friends have a veto on this thing. If it is possible for the weapons inspectors to go in and find the bad stuff and be confident they got it all, fine. Let me hear the argument.

But I think Saddam is the problem. He funds the research. He funds the construction of weapons of mass destruction. He is the one the U.S. cannot deal with, because he keeps trying to kill our presidents and citizens.

We've got no beef with Iraqis, but Saddam has to go.

That's My Word.

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