If someone says they are going to search you out and kill you.
What do you do?
Well you have several options.
1. Kill them first before they kill you.
2. Cover you self with bulletproof clothing (and hope that they don't figure out how to drive a car).
3. Call the police and tell them (and hope that they respond in time).
Now let's apply this to the Iraq/war on terror (I consider them the same thing) situation.
We can do a preemptive strike, become a security state, or rely on the UN to do it's job.
But what if there was no policeman (or he was extremely weak and ineffective in protecting your life)?
Just for reference here are some resolutions from the UN.
If you would read resolution 1441, and see what it says. It reads to me that the UN made drew a mark in the sand, and in 1441 it also seemed like it would actually back it up with something a little more forceful than sanctions. The UN did not do that.
So our options were to become a security state (a loss of personal freedoms) or take the fight out of American soil. We choose to put our troops at war so that people could buy things freely and travel with out having there personal information checked at every corner (although we are now making progress on the domestic side also). The main moving idea behind putting out troops at war is that if you want it done right, do it yourself.
I would propose that of the two options, the rise of a serious security state (such as Israel has) would be more hurtful politically for the president, than a won war with casualties.
Just as a side not the sentence that made me think off all of this:
"respect for international institutions and international law, multilateral engagement and"