A mantra of the Democrats in the coming election will be that they would have removed Saddam–but with a permission slip from the U.N. As somebody asked, What part of no do they not understand? Fred Hiatt points out in today’s WaPo why that would not have worked: “U. N. members include the Saddam Husseins of the world, and as Clinton learned when he decided to rescue Kosovo, U.N. permission cannot always be secured even for the most righteous mission.”

In other words, it works as a debating point but not as policy. The election will be about whether we need to send the cops to get Osama or whether we’re engaged in a struggle from which we dare not retreat. Every death in this war is tragic. But those who oppose the war will use every fallen soldier the way the left used “the homeless”: as a debating point. When you see the moment of silence on the Newshour, observe it and be sad–but don’t for a moment regard it as a politically neutral moment.