Here’s what I’m beating myself up about. I long believed that Saddam was a Stalinist; that he ran a brutal police state; that totalitarian regimes – again, as Orwell noted – are often extremely successful at what they do. (Remember Orwell’s fear was that totalitarianism would work.) So why did I believe that Saddam’s shock troops would not put up that fierce a battle? In retrospect, of course they would. They’ve been terrified into obedience; and the higher up you go the more that terror is manifested by terrorizing others in turn. It’s one big police state. The experience of the collapse of the Soviet Union perhaps lulled us into over-confidence. But Saddam’s terror-state is younger, more Stalinist than end-of-empire USSR, and is allied with some of the most fanatical barbarians in the world. I should have thought of that. Not that it changes much now. After the initial adolescent disappointment that we didn’t have insta-victory, the longer this goes on, the more confident I’m becoming. Above all, observing the methods of this police state confirms my feeling that this was always the right thing to do. There was no alternative to war, it is now transparently clear, except leaving Saddam entrenched and getting more dangerous. Now to finish the job.

THE NYT ON THE BBC: The Axis of Bias now exists. But check out the simply glorious Times’ description of the BBC’s coverage of the war: “nuanced objectivity.” I think I’m going to rename our regular media bias updates as “Nuanced Objectivity Watch.”