I think that most of the lens vs. camera debate is centered around Digital and its crazy pace of improvement.
Cameras are at least as important as the lens when it comes to getting great photos. Lenses are just a better investment. Imagine if you had to shoot without auto-focus, exposure metering, Automatic white-balance (i.e., using a Grey card every time), or any of the other features we take for granted.
Your better off investing in lenses because optics are a much older more mature industry (a couple thousand year's vs. photography's 150ish). A top of the line Nikkor from nine years ago is still pretty much top of the line today. Digital, on the other hand, is vastly better.
You can participate in most of the advances in digital just by purchasing Nikon's lowest end camera (the D3000). The D3000 is, in most ways, superior to the D200 in terms of technology.
I think that anytime you step up in your camera class & generation, that's equivelent to stepping up in lenses (ex. Replace a D80 w/ a D300). The difference, is that your D80 will have lost 80% of its value. Once I round out the list of lenses I want, I probably will very rarely ever buy another one. I'll keep buying cameras as long as they keep adding compelling features.