The problem that I have seen with the anti-war arguments coming from Europe (and some folks here in the US) over why the US should not go to war suffer from two major problems: 1) They are hypocritical
and 2) they lack understanding of modern warfare
The first point is an easy one to make. Just when, exactly, did the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the British, the Russians, or just about any other major player in Europe gain the right to criticize the United States about its past foreign policies? The argument that "Oh, all that bad stuff we did was a long time ago" is completely irrelevant, because the people who perpetrated all those horrible injustices and all that suffering against innocent and unwilling foreign citizens are just as not in control of our country as Hilter and Stalin are in control of Germany and Russia. And, if you actually research, you'll find that the United States has left as many of its conquered enemies in better economic and social shape than they were before the conflict, not to mention than if the United States hadn't intervened. See Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the entire continent of Europe. Anyone from Europe who critisizes the U.S. for having a history of imperialism and reckless abandon when it comes to foreign countries and peoples needs to take a very close look at their own country's history before they continue to cast stones.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, and I agree with anyone who says that the Vietnam War was a horrendous waste of lives, that the U.S. was gravely mistaken in its pre-1990 policies in the middle east regarding Iraq and Iran, or that our fight against communist powers drove us to do some pretty dispicable things in the name of national and international security. The problem is that everybody was doing those things, and focusing critisism solely upon the United States for carrying out policies meant to help keep Europe from coming under the heel of the Soviet Union is dishonest.
The second point is just as obvious. The conflict in Afghanistan saw the biggest use of precision-guided weaponry in history, and that was against a country already decimated by internal strife (which is mostly due to the Russians and their ill-conceived attempt at conquest of that poor country.) The United States has always fought the rich-man's war, and today's rich man's war is very low on collateral damage.
Ask a German, especially an elderly one, what war upon one's homeland means, and he or she will instantly conjure up images of obliterated cities, unimaginable civillian casualties, and untold economic destruction. This was the the height of American and British warfare technology in the 1940's: carpet bombing with HE and incindiary bombs using hundreds of heavy bombers such as B-17's and Lancasters, indiscriminately targeting enemy population centers.
However, we don't do that anymore. Remember? Precision bombing has all but eliminated the need for destroying entire cities just to lower enemy morale. Instead, we drop a single bomb into a ventilation duct on the top of the enemy installation, killing the military personnel inside and leaving the hospital placed conveniently next door almost completely intact, save a few broken windows and a few body parts imbedded into the outside walls. Make no mistake: civillians in any combat zone WILL die, but be wary of those who make claims about hundreds of thousands of civillian casualties, or even tens of thousands. Thanks to precision-guided weaponry, civillian casualties are truly accidents. Anyone who tells you that the United States is interested in killing civillians in large numbers is lying.
This doesn't mean that we are not willing to drop bombs on civillians if they happen to be in or in close proximity to military targets, though. I read about some clowns who are trying to drive to Iraq so that they can sit on top of military targets, because they assume that America won't drop bombs on white people. There's no way in hell they're actually going to be allowed to even enter Iraq, much less actually be allowed access to military installations for their sitting-on-top-of purposes, and they probably know this. But, be assured, if they did, they would not be spared. It's called war, and it is horrible.
The point, however, is that human suffering on a grand scale like we saw in WWII is a thing of the past, as long as we are not forced to counter a WMD strike. At that point the nightmare begins, but the U.S. will not be the ones to start it.
The REAL human suffering is happening right now, in Iraq. Remember, Iraq is a police state. In Iraq, thoughtcrime is REAL. People who are even maybe slightly suspected to be dissidents are made to dissappear. EVERYONE is afraid for their lives; less from American bombs than from Saddam's secret police.
I personally question the motives of anyone who opposes this war. If you are truly a pacifist, that's fine. However, if you think that the forced removal of the Iraqi government will cause more suffering than the alternative, you need to research research research. Find testimony from people who have escaped from Iraq. Find all the Iraqi immigrants who welcome military action against Saddam, even if it IS from the United States. Find a motive for the U.S. besides oil: if we wanted oil, we'd simply get the sanctions lifted. Oil IS a factor in this conflict, but only as a happy side effect. Anyone who tells you that the American government isn't interested in wresting control of vast reserves of natural resources away from a sadistic government that is publicly bent on our destruction is an idiot. But that oil is not ours, and the American people know it. When my government says they will hold the oil in trust for the Iraqi people, I expect them to stick by their word. If, in 10 years, we're still making more money off of it than the Iraqis are, I'm going to be pissed as all hell.
Regarding the claims that the Bush administration is not representative of the American people, I refer you to the 2002 election, in which Bush's party gained control of congress. This means that America likes what the administration is doing. I personally did not vote for Bush; I thought he was a complete moron. However, given our current situation, I think about how Clinton might have handled it, and I shudder. More importantly, I somehow think that Gore would probably have acted in a similar fashion. Bush, on the other hand, is takes the long view. The road to ruining the terrorists is a long, hard, unpopular one, but Bush decided as of 9/11 that it was time to start the journey, and he's shown that no amount of European criticism is going to deter him. I admire that, and I'm happy with the way he is handling our current situation.
Here's a hint about what we're doing: we want to get rid of terrorism. Terrorism is only effective while it is supported by the public, the so-called "Arab Street", which is the boogeyman in which our opponents put so much faith but which, so far has missed many a golden opportunity to rise up and crush us. How can the U.S. deprive the various terrorist organizations of the Middle East of their popular support? It can, for one, show the people of the middle east that a proper, secular government, even if it is formed with U.S. help, can make its people (even its women) happy, educated and successful. No matter how you define those three terms, the Iraqis have none of them now, and neither do much of the populations of other Middle Eastern countries, and neither do the Palestinians.
At the same time, we're going to be on top of terrorists in the region and those who support them like gangbusters. Once we are able to stabilize the oil market should we need to, any destabilization in the Middle Eastern governments which are trying so hard to screw us over will be all to the good.
America is through pulling punches, kids. We have the UN resolution authorizing military action; look, it says right there that if Iraq doesn't cooperate fully, they are in material breach. Some in the international community have interests which make them willing to overlook this, and they have severely damaged their relationship with the United States because of it. Is it worth it? I can't see why it would be, but I don't know all the facts. There's speculation out there that France and Germany have some very dirty secrets that an invasion of Iraq would uncover, which could rip apart not only NATO and the UN, but the EU as well, but that is merely speculation without any corroborative evidence. The point is that when the U.S. is ready, it will declare Iraq to be in material breach of UN Res. 1441 and it will attack with the full diplomatic support of at least 8 countries in Europe, with additional military support from the UK and Australia. Anyone who uses the word "unilateral" against the United States anymore in this situation is ill-informed or dishonest.
That's all I've got. Unfortunately I don't have a good closer, and I'm honest enough to admit it. Huzzah!