I'd like to think that I am a loyal American. I believe in everything that this country was based on, such as certain, universal, inalienable rights, the freedom of religion, possession, and life - pursuit of happiness and all that.
That is why I am totally against the current (September, 2002) administration's leaning towards going to war with Iraq.
Iraq poses no real imminent threat
Unlike religiously motivated terrorist organizations, Iraq, or more specifically, Saddam Hussein has nothing to gain from attacking the United States. He's happy being the ruthless dictator of Iraq - the easiest way to stop being the happy dictator of Iraq would be for Saddam to attack the USA. (Religiously motivated terrorist organizations are less logical/selfish and have ideological reasons to attack the USA without fear of death.)
Iraq played less of a role in the September 11th terrorist attack than other countries
Nearly all the terrorists involved in the attacks were Saudi Arabian nationals. Many religiously motivated terrorist organizations are backed by Saudi money. Logically, Saudi Arabia is the next logical target if the White House were looking to take out those that support terrorist attacks against the United States and the rest of the world. Obviously, we are not going to attack Saudi Arabia, but if not, why should we attack Iraq?
Possession of weapons of mass destruction is no casus belli
India has nuclear weapons and delivery systems - as does Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. Citizens of many other nations in have the technological knowledge to build small nuclear devices. If Iraq hasn't developed a nuclear bomb yet, they are behind the rest of the world. I believe Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea are all as likely to use their nuclear arsenals as much as Iraq - especially because they are either nearly at war with each other (Pakistan/India), ruled by a crazy guy (North Korea), or surrounded by nations that may want to invade them (Israel). Similar arguments pertain to chemical and biological weapons. IF any of these nations were to USE these weapons, then I would agree that their capabilities should be nullified using all force necessary - but by their nature these weapons of mass destruction are deterrent threats, in that their greatest utility comes from owning them and not by using them.
Who do you replace Saddam with?
It is unlikely that you could find anybody significantly better for the US or the world to take over as leader of Iraq than Saddam. You couldn't have democratic elections there, as the democratic majority in that part of the world are Islamic fundamentalists and you are likely to have another Taliban-esque government. The best course of action is to silence or marginalize these rogue national leaders until they get older and wiser - see Colonel Khaddafi. It is interesting to note that the most successful party in a recent round of elections in Turkey (one of the most secular countries in that region) was a political party based on Islamic fundamentalism.
Can every other country be wrong?
As the last remaining superpower, the United States has the obligation to lead the free world. This does not mean becoming the world-wide bully. This leads to anger and terrorist attacks against your world. The correct course of action is to combat tyranny and injustices while showing the rest of the world that a democratic form of government is the most stable one. Attacking Iraq would just show every other country that they are not safe, and if they can strike out with some sort of weapon against the United States, they should do so before they get flattened first.
Enough people have died already
Any attack against Iraq will result in the loss of human lives, not only combatants (both US and Iraqi), but also innocent bystanders. Do we need to encourage moderate, non-terrorist Arabs to hate the United States? Does killing Iraqi innocents make the deaths of American innocents on September 11th seem more palatable? Two wrongs do not make a right. Two wrongs, in this case, would result in the loss of thousands of lives.
Would it stop future terrorist attacks?
No. These terrorists are not rational people, and are motivated by their feelings of helplessness and religious fervor to lash out violently at the urging of criminally insane religious fundamentalists. Fear of death at the hands of the US military is not a deterrent to terrorists - it would only hasten their entry into a supposed happy afterlife. And, of course, domestic and non-Arab terrorists would not be at all deterred by an attack on Iraq.
Throughout US history, every war in which the United States was attacked first was seen as a just war, and every war in which the US attacked first was seen as an unjust one. I do not believe you can believe the terrorist, criminal event of September 11th was an act of war by Iraq. I hope more people can adopt a less jingoistic approach to this issue and think through it rationally.
NotFabio's arguments are rational, though I don't agree with most of them. Opinions do not have to match. I don't see why he is dependent on this Hanson character for his beliefs, and I don't think some of his arguments address the points at the beginning of the paragraphs.