I think you can argue it round or flat whether it was a good idea to take the Iraq issue to the United Nations in the first place. But I think the second-resolution gambit has clearly been revealed to be a disaster — unless the goal is less to disarm Iraq and more to overturn the international order. I understand that we wanted to help the British by getting a second resolution. But at least before, with 1441 and the dozen-plus other resolutions, the United States could have said it was in compliance with the Security Council by going to war. That was the whole point of negotiating 1 resolution in the first place. 1441 was what we wanted and we got it. If we went to war under its authority alone the Security Council naysayers would be put in the position of having to explain why the US was wrong at a time of war. I doubt they would have been too loud in the face of a fait accompli. Now, we’ve more or less conceded that we don’t have the authority under 1441 and we need more approval from the UN. If we don’t get that approval in the form of a second resolution we’ll be in defiance of the UN if we go to war.
I don’t mind being in defiance of the UN as a matter of principle. But as a matter of politics it’s a much riskier proposition.