While the Bush administration drum beats ever louder for war it is not too late to stop this rush.

In both the Senate and House there are efforts to rescind or at least modify the blank check for war passed last November. And, here in Maine, lawmakers are making a similar push at the state level.

We should support these efforts.

The central questions are these:

Has the president made a case for war?

Will war make us more secure?

Contrary to what the administration wants us to believe, the inspections are working. With the inspectors on the ground Saddam Hussein is effectively incarcerated and under watch by a force that could respond immediately and devastatingly to any aggression. The inspection teams preclude any significant advance in weapons of mass destruction capabilities, and the status quo is safe for the American people.

Most recently General Schwartzkopf, who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War, has added his voice to the many who say that they haven’t seen enough evidence to convince them of the need for war.

Colin Powell likes to say that all military actions need an exit strategy, but this administration has none. It is unlikely that the conflicting factions in Iraq will come together without a long occupation.

American belligerence and arrogance are unfortunately part of a larger pattern of American straight-arming the world — on the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, the UN Family Planning Fund, the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty and derailing treaty talks with the North Koreans.

Increasingly, the Bush administration seeks a new world order where we go it alone, callous to world opinion.

While a mood of insecurity and danger is heightened daily by the administration’s talk, at home there are worrisome trends.

The economy is souring, domestic programs are rolled back for lack of money, civil rights are curtailed and an anti-feminist agenda is unrolling. Problems like health care, drug costs, education and the environment will simply go unmet because of the ballooning deficit.

Steve Bien, Jay

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