I am Jack's catalyzing comments
In a comment on this post jackscolon provided me material for a post of my own. Thanks.
"I think the Democrats have largely achieved their point. I find it very unlikely that the United States will really undergo much in the way of militaristic foreign policy in the future short of an obvious state sponsored attack comparable to 9/11. What President isn't going to be gun-shy and realize that he has to meet a higher burden of proof before action?"
This comment begs two questions:
(1) Will presidents really be gun-shy about military action in the future because of Iraq, and therefore have to meet a higher burden of proof?
(2) Is this a good thing?
My short answer to the first question would be no, obviating the second question. But my no is not because I don't think the Iraq war will change the way we debate and embark upon armed conflicts; I think it will, and it's just too soon to say how. I think the answer is no because the United States is in a curious position: that of a permanent state of military readiness, with an economy dependent on military proceedings and hardware, and in possession of no-one-but-the-Joint-Chiefs-know how many military bases, compounds, and prisons abroad.
People overestimate the bellicosity of a George W. Bush and understimate it in a Bill Clinton. When the presidents who are traditionally seen as the most dovish were president, there were still wars fought, there were still military actions carried out, the defense dollars kept flowing, and we kept up intelligence and maintenance actions abroad. George W. Bush, two wars, and a pathetic response by the intellectually bankrupt and feeble Democratic party don't change ANY of that. IF, as I believe, there was manipulation and deception about intelligence during the build-up to the Iraq war, it was merely the latest example of an essential component of American foreign policy.