Using functions with "action-at-a-distance" through sys.settraceback may be okay for an obscure feature that can't be had any other way yet doesn't merit changes to the language, but that's not the situation for decorators. The widely held view here is that decorators need to be added as a syntactic feature to avoid the problems with the postfix notation used in 2.2 and 2.3. Decorators are slated to be an important new language feature and their design needs to be forward-looking, not constrained by what can be implemented in 2.3.
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There have been a number of objections raised to this location -- the primary one is that it's the first real Python case where a line of code has an effect on a following line. The syntax available in 2.4a3 requires one decorator per line (in a2, multiple decorators could be specified on the same line), and the final decision for 2.4 final stayed one decorator per line.
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