This is a counter-narrative that I'd kind of given up on when the build up to the Iraq war started back in 02, but on reflection, I think it still is of great intellectual and theoretical importance. It is based on my theory of the trade of "Sympathy". When a country/entity gets brutally attacked (eg.'s Jews in WWII, 9/11, Pearl Harbour, Suicide bombings, Hiroshima, Blitzkrieg bombings etc.), that which gets attacked obtains a sympathy credit. When a country/entity retaliates, anything close to proportional retaliation cashes in that credit.
In modern day geopolitical confrontation, keeping and holding that sympathy credit (ie. avoiding retaliation) is key to winning the peace. Revenge is something that never wins the peace, and retribution should be left to any court of law that can decide on it.
An important side note is that "who shoots first" is of absolute critical importance both in a battle sense and in a declaration of war sense. Thus no matter how rediculous it sounds, the US would be seen to be a World leader much more, would be seen to have absolute moral integrity within the UN, and would have been that much closer to a new world order in which it was the moral leader, had they either not attacked Iraq, or had waited (even indefinitely) for them to "shoot first".
Thus East Timor wins the peace in their country, partly because they didn't retaliate proportionally (nor request other countries to do so on their behalf).
Israel appears to be gradually cashing in their sympathy credit ever since the end of WWII, Australians in Afghanistan (etc.) are winning sympathy credits due to their rules of engagement which prohibits them from shooting until fired upon. The Iraq war has cashed in all (and then some) of the sympathy that the US had left over from 9/11.
Thus the war in Iraq was wrong on the count that it did not show a good example for other world citizens, and anyway, that is not how wars are won.