[scroll down]: Mickey Kaus edges toward the antiwar stance he calls the proceduralist position, after reading Michael Kinsley’s latest column (“…only if it’s multilateral…”), although he mischaracterizes France as the sole international obstacle to the Security Council’s blessings. “(I)f the war’s a good thing to do, they argue, are you really going to let France stop it?” Yes, he says, and agrees with Kinsley’s observation that “the general regime of international law depends on a willingness to sacrifice short-term goals that may even be admirable for the long-term goal of establishing some civilized norms of global behavior.” Kaus neatly dismisses the self-defense arguments of the dysadministration: “If self-defense justifies an attack on any nation that might pose a grave threat a few years down the road, the result could be just as destabilizing as if there were no general rule against trans-border attacks.”

He then goes on to share my consternation at a point made in antiwar polemics:

“The seemingly sophisticated focus, among antiwar types, on the difficulty of administering postwar Iraq actually undermines the anti-war case… because it suggests that without those difficulties a war outside the U.N. would be justifiable. In fact, those difficulties are largely irrelevant to the initial question of procedural legitimacy.”

It not only demeans the antiwar position to lump arguments of convenience and expense together with questions of inherent legitimacy and legality of the war; it also doesn’t keep company well with any of the other antiwar arguments with which it travels:

None of this, of course, is to mention at all the more absolutist antiwar position which rejects any complicity with the morally bankrupt killing machine perpetuating violent non-solutions. But Kaus is welcome nonetheless in the antiwar camp, even if he shows what a strange bedfellow he is in this contorted ‘P.S.’:

“Democracy, which we hope to bring to the Middle East, is basically a bunch of formal procedural rules too, no? We don’t ignore them when we don’t like the outcome. [Insert cheap shot about Bush actually losing the election?--ed. No! He won by the rules, with the Supreme Court playing the role of France.]” Slate

(Confidential to Mickey Kaus: As far as “not rushing” into your decision goes — if not now, when? You’re long past the point where taking the time to make up your mind is a virtue.)

Related: Time for a new antiwar message: ‘The peace movement’s call to “Let the Inspections Work” is becoming about

as effective as duct tape against biological weapons.’ — Karin Rosman, AlterNet