It seems to me that the Powell speech has had the effect that was needed, note this excellent WaPo editorial on the matter. Also note that ten other European countries (to be added to the eight of a week ago) are coming in an our side. I think the French have begun to move in our direction (but see this good piece by Andrew Sullivan from a few days ago, and this by Stephen Hays on the French position); in the end they will not be held responsible for making the UN irrelevant. Also note the hard line that the inspectors are taking toward Iraq: The inspectors have claimed to Blair that Iraq is not cooperating. This means that their report of next week will be the end. And here is an excellent piece from George Will on what it all means and how the "French have retreated into incoherence." And conclude your reading with this nice short piece outlining how technological advancements of the last dozen years have transformed the US military. You might as well start paying attention to the hardware and strategy since we will be at war by early March (unless Saddam abdicates or is overthrown), and that war, I still maintain, will be under UN auspices.