On the way to the grocery store today, I saw a line of people on the corner holding signs in the stinging cold demonstrating their displeasure at the current Administration's tumbling toward war. I have a lot of respect for these people, and I think it's important that those who are so at odds with war in Iraq make their voices known. It's been happening all over the country today.

I've made it known in this space that I don't think a war with Iraq is a good idea at this point, and I've said I think a gerat number of the population is with me on that.

I've been watching the news lately and following the situation with the weapons inspectors. And I think it might be time to very reluctantly reverse my position.

The latest news that Iraq has started their slide toward non-cooperation yet again has forced me to start to think that it's time to use force in the Gulf. If any of you are silly enough to think that Iraq is doing anything other than trying to lull the dragon into complacency, such as it has successfully done throughout the last 12 years since the Gulf War, then I truly envy you. You have a much greater faith in the possibility that Saddam Hussein really isn't crazy and does not believe that he can ultimately prevail if he can continue to string the cheese in front of the Western nations.

The Iraqi people have starved for the last decade or more. Many fault the US-led sanctions for this starving. This is naïve; the Western nations cannot be greatly faulted for starving a people under the tyrannical rule of a despot whose government chokes the life out of his people to feed his own opulence. I feel for the people of Iraq, but I'm not one of those people who normally feels like a oppressed people need the military assistance of the United States. I may sound very cold-hearted, but the majority of the time I think the people need to fight their own fights. Even when they are imprisoned at the first sign of resistance, determined groups usually find a way to overcome. So you won't find liberation behind my change of opinion.

Ultimately, I think it's time for W, Rumsfeld and their legions to put up or shut up. The Western nations have allowed Hussein to dance for too long. They've worried too much about losing political capital and Saddam has thusly been able to wait out each successive president's and prime minister's posturing on how he will not be free to violate the restrictions placed on him any longer. I reluctantly supported the idea of new weapons inspections late last year knowing full well that Saddam's compliance would only last so long, and I took this position because I felt Bush could not justifiably go into Iraq with guns blazing before going through the motions to prove one more time that Saddam is playing a game that he has no business playing. The time has come for this to happen: Saddam is slowing trying to diminish his compliance with the hopes that none of the nations lecturing him will have the political balls to carry through with their threats.

For everything negative I've said about Bush, I truly believe that he means what he says and that he'll do what he says he'll do. He's far too simple and sees things too much in black and white to do it any other way. And at this point, in this situation, it's time to make Hussein believe that the threats have some substance. If it doesn't happen know, it never will. No other administration will have the guts to go out and do what they have to, political capital be damned. And this will happen. Neither Bush nor Rumsfeld have any qualms with inciting a large group of the population in order to pursue their objectives.

I very reluctantly take this position. I'm not a pacifist, but I do feel that war is only an option when no others exist. I feel that this time has come. For the rest of you who disagree and even stand outside in the frigid cold to show your disagreement: you have my utmost respect and understanding. I cannot disagree with you on most levels, but on the most important level, I simply cannot find a reason any more to agree with you.