During spring of my senior year in high-school, the US and a few allies invaded Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s repeated defiance of the UN resolutions requiring him to submit his weapons programs to inspection (so you don’t have to do the math, I’m 26 now). Many leftists opposed the war at the time, while conservatives, influenced by neo-conservative ideals, largely supported the war. Eight years, billions of dollars and many thousands of military and civilian casualties later, we are still in Iraq, even though President Obama promised a withdrawal.
President Bush’s reasons for going into Iraq made sense to me at the time. In retrospect, and after ten years of observing the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, I’ve become more non-interventionist in my leanings. I don’t think we have the power to affect much democratic change from the outside, particularly in Islamic nations. I don’t think that there’s much we can do to make Islamic nations more friendly toward us; in fact, the more we intervene in their affairs, the more power the terrorists’ narrative of creeping American hegemony gains traction.
Turning the the present situation in Libya, I think it’s very strange that leftists are now supporting US-led military action in support of the rebels against Qaddafi (or however you spell his name). Conservatives, on the other hand, have tended to oppose this action in support of so-called "freedom fighters." The similarities between Iraq and Libya are very similar: a brutal dictator, tolerated for years by a powerless/hypocritical UN, oppressing his people, who now have a chance at liberation.
Leftists accused Bush of going to war for oil in Iraq; conservatives accuse Obama of political opportunism. Both presidents justified their actions on humanitarian grounds. Bush prosecuted the war without much support at all from congress; Obama has not obtained congressional approval according to the constitution.
The real difference between Iraq and Libya is this:
The whole thing is just fascinating. In most arenae of public discourse, thoughtful assessment of moral and social principles and ethical concerns has given way to "my guy, vs. the-other-guy-who-hates-America-and-wants-children-and-puppies-to-die."