Was Powell's presentation yesterday effective in changing views on Iraq? I've heard differing opinions on the matter today but if you want to see an example of a change in course check out this editorial in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune. It praises Powell's speech and chastises Russia, France, and China for failing to recognize the obvious.
In his remarks, Powell made the point that "the inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives." Apparently Russia, France and China don't appreciate the distinction. But as Powell pointedly noted, it took four years for Iraq to admit to inspectors in the 1990s that it had biological and chemical weapons programs. How long does the world want to give Iraq this time? Four more years?
Did I really read this in the Star Tribune? The same Star Tribune which up to this point had been competing with the New York Times to see who muster more opposition to the Bush administration's policy towards Iraq?
Powell went methodically through Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. He focused as well on two delivery systems: ballistic missiles and unmanned airborne vehicles -- the latter perhaps the most chilling to Americans because of their potential use against U.S. targets. Powell also did a strong job of connecting Iraq with Al-Qaida -- something critics had said couldn't be done.
This is the same paper that had earlier mocked those who claimed the existence of an Iraqi-Al Qaeda link and pooh poohed the Iraqi threat to the US. Now they've conceded the strongest points that proponents of military action have been arguing all along.
Note to the anti-war folks out there: When you've lost the Star Tribune editorial board you've lost the war.