If the United States goes to war with Iraq it may be the most debated and talked-about war in history. And if there is no war, it will certainly be the most debated and talked-about non-war in history. In the old days, of course, there were probably as many armchair strategists as there are today, but part of the charm of being able to second-guess the generals and the politicians was one’s utter powerlessness to affect their decisions. It was like being a Monday-morn- ing quarterback: the quarterback himself operated on a different plane of existence entirely. But nowadays, the second guessers, particularly those in the media, assume an easy equality with those whose behavior they have taken it upon themselves to criticize.

Some people think this a thoroughly good thing. Michael Kinsley, for instance, writes under the heading “Government by Op-Ed” from his own syndicated perch on The Washington...


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