After 911 we sought out those responsible for this act. All evidence points to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda though there was no proof of this then (OBL did not claim responsibility until last month's video translation). At the time, Al Qaeda was based out of Afghanistan which was nominally under the control of the Taleban (the Northern Alliance had been largely cornered and contained). After 911 the US approached the Taleban to hand over OBL. Omar asked for proof and we gave him insufficient evidence; Omar decides not to turn over OBL. Thus by GWB's proclamation those that harbor terrorists would be treated as if they are terrorists. Afghanistan was duly liberated. What is striking to me here is that had Omar handed over OBL, the Taleban would have likely remained in power today. What this says is that the Taleban was not themselves the problem, only by noncooperation did they become the problem and held accountable for their "house guests." Think about that for a second and how outrageous this actually is. But the war in Afghanistan was largely supported by the world, Europe, and leftists in the US.
Lets then review the situation with Iraq, which the world, Europe, and leftists in the US all opposed. Saddam was obligated by a ceasefire treaty from 1991 to prove he no longer had the wmd previously acknowledge in stockpile. Saddam was under a legal agreement that he failed to comply with; the responsibility of proof was on him. Others before him have successfully demonstrated disarmament (South Africa) and others after him have done so as well (Lybia). Was it too much to expect cooperation with treaty signed? Thus when one party (the US) to that (ceasefire) agreement no longer has faith the in the other party to honor the agreement, the treaty was nullified. The ceasefire was canceled and the shooting war was resumed.
In one instance (Iraq) the legal framework was clear and established (even if you disagree with the premature need to nullify the ceasefire for minor infraction and noncooperation; you must acknowledge that there was nominal breach of contract/ceasefire by Iraq). In the other instance the standing legal framework was disregarded (at least the US never formally recognized the Taleban as the government of Afghanistan, many nations in the world did) and a country was invaded for non cooperation. I am curious to know the pretext as to how those who were supportive of military action against the Taleban but were against the invasion of Iraq can justify their apparent hypocritical and inconsistent stance. Those that opposed both, being opposed to wars in general, were at least consistent. But if you were to support only one using the standards of the day, you should be supporting the current war in Iraq!
Personally i am for both, because both needed to be done. Afghanistan served as a blow against Al Qaeda and as a warning to other states not to harbor terrorism. Iraq serves to undermine the root of terrorism (Terrorism linked to lack of political freedom) by planting Freedom in a liberty parched land. A sound two pronged attack in the War against Terrorism.
I wish our coalition troops swift and decisive victory, minimal casualty, and maximal extermination of our foe.