MetsFan: Thank you for the compliment. Your own positions are well-reasoned and well-stated, and offer an interesting perspective.
First, obviously, anyone that doesn't support our soldiers in quickly winning this war and returning home safely as soon as possible is on the lunatic fringe.
I think we can all agree that, as a general rule, totalitarianism and dictatorships are bad. I don't pretend to have answers to all of the questions raised by this war, so I'll limit myself to a brief statement regarding the issues I have, and continue to have.
Why are we fighting this war, and why are we fighting it now?
If it's to help the oppressed people of Iraq, who have no voting rights, etc. Then why are we stopping at Iraq's borders? The vast majority of the Arabic world has a monarchial form of government in which the citizenry do not vote, oppression is rampant, and women have few if any rights whatsoever.
If it's because Iraq has materially assisted Al Queda in their attacks against us, then (1) why hasn't proof been given to the American populace and the world so we can all see it, and (2) why aren't we attacking the other areas of the world that have assisted Al Queda, including significant parts of Indonesia, etc?
While I'm quite certain this war will be won, and hopefully won quickly, the problems that *result* from this war may be far worse than having left the whole situation as it was. First, the occupation of a country the size of California is going to make our occupation of such areas as Beirut and Mogadishu look like a cakewalk. Second, we are right now encouraging young Muslims to sign on with their local terrorist group. Sowing the seeds of increased racial hatred by millions of people around the world isn't what I call clever diplomacy.
There are two axis of debate, I think. First, how can you justify a war where (1) you have not been attacked, and (2) there is no international sanction? Second, will this war, in the long run, increase or decrease our security? President Bush thinks Pax Americana can be enforced by the use of force, rather than the threat of it. I fear he (and by extension, America) will be proven incorrect.
"You can observe a lot just by watching."