Actually, PhattTim, the psychological effect of being in a wartime state is what kicked the U.S.'s ass into gear and really turned us into the industrial and economic giant today. The war effort mobilized a huge workforce and started new research on all kinds of crazy stuff... frozen concentrated orange juice being one of them. It's amazing how much the U.S. did in four years to snap out of the Depression and into the 1950's of suburban America and the American Dream.
Anyway, about attacking Iraq... I'll begin with a little wit... so, we spend 1 billion a day just to maintain our military? Well shit then, can't just leave the fucker sitting around now can we? ;)
I'm a pretty peaceful guy myself, but there are times for peace and times for war. One time for war is when it's necessary to preserve national integrity and security. At the most basic scale, let's just say that the U.S. is operating purely in its own self-interest: we want to knock off Saddam, install a democratic government that will be U.S.-controlled, so we can minimize a terrorist threat and secure oil supplies. We were just assholes, went and conquered a country. So, what did we go wrong? We freed a country from a dictator, brought its industry into a huge market, industrialized a nation, eliminated the threat of nuclear or biochemical weapons, appeased the will of other nations in the area, and overall, made the world a better place. Sure, the U.S. was arrogant and overbearing and powerful- but we did what was best. That's a hard decision to make sometimes... take the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then face the facts.
We ruthlessly slaughtered 120,000 civilians and military personnel- but we ended the war. We had broken the Japanese military code- and anyone who knows about Japanese culture knows what that means: with very few exceptions, the war would not be over until nearly every last Japanese soldier and civilian was dead or captured. So, by killing 120,000 we saved the lives of some 400,000 American POWs (who were to be slaughtered if we invaded), at least 500,000 Americans who would be killed if we hit the beaches, and at least three times as many Japanese who would die. Net gain- about 2 million lives saved.
Now I know a comparison of the current situation to WWII is totally irrational, but the maxim still applies: Sometimes, you gotta drop the bomb.
'And if ignorance is bliss, then WIPE THE SMILE OFF MY FACE!' -Zack de la Rocha
'Think of us as erotic politicians.' -Jim Morrison