In a year, War?

So I was chatting with a reporter down in Washington today and we were swapping the RUM-INT (Rumors-Intelligence) we’ve heard. He’s of the theory that we won’t see war in early 2003, but late 2003 instead. The rhetoric after tomorrow (don’t forget to vote!) will be racheted down to “let the U.N. do its job” and some time next year either some incident will be manufactured or Saddam will do something stupid. After that, war.
It makes a certain amount of sense, I have to admit. My buddy said there is some thought that more time would increase the chances of a palace coup thanks to the extra months of American sabre rattling. And fighting a war in November 2003 would be better for presidential politics since any victory would be fresh in voters’ minds come Nov. 2004. (This is the theory that Bush I fought the first Gulf War too soon, that if he had fought and won it in late 1991 or early 1992, he would have defeated Bill Clinton easily.)
Still, there are carrier groups en route to the Gulf, and the Navy was looking for transport ships not long ago. Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, expects war after Ramadan, which ends Dec. 5. Also, I wonder about the patience of the Neo-Cons and the hawks surrounding Bush. Wolfowitz, Haas, Perl and Cheney are true believers and Bush has made a big deal in the United Nations that nownowNOW is the time to move since Iraq is a clear and present danger to the stability of the world. It wouldn’t do for America to squander its prestige by barking for war madly only to shrug come Nov. 6 and say, “We’ll chill.” (This is the “We have to go to war because if we don’t we’ll look foolish since we said we’re going to war” theory of international politics.)
War now or war later? Answer hazy, ask again later.