1) Don’t kid yourself that Saddam might really have nothing to hide. Of course he does. He’s a mass-murderer and an international gangster: a bad man running a wicked Goverment; the British Prime Minister and the US President are good men running good Governments.All good advice excepting (7). The war is about oil - in part. And it's worthwhile to point that out. What we should avoid is the meme that the war is only about oil, which is obviously false. Yet it is the clear suggestion of "no blood for oil".
2) Don’t hide behind the UN. The organisation may in the end be browbeaten into “authorising” an attack. If it really is your judgment that an attack would be morally wrong or practically hazardous, how could UN endorsement make it wise?
3) Don’t count on France, Germany or Russia to maintain their opposition to war. They may just be holding out for improved offers.
4) Don’t attach yourself to predictions about the military outcome. If the Pentagon thinks an invasion could easily succeed, the Pentagon may be right.
5) Don’t become an instant pundit on internal Iraqi politics, and how Shias, Kurds and Sunnis will be at each other’s throats when Saddam falls. You do not know that.
6) Don’t assume that moderate Arab opinion will be outraged. Moderate Arab opinion likes winners. America may be the winner.
7) Don’t get tangled up in conspiracy theories about oil. It is insulting to many principled and intelligent people in the British and US administrations to say that this can be understood as an oil-grabbing plot. Besides, you drive a car, don’t you? Is the security of our oil supplies not a consideration in foreign policy?
My predictions: there will be a war. The US will win, easily, inflicting perhaps 20000 Iraqi deaths at the price of a handful of American deaths. Most of the deaths will be Iraqi soldiers. Thousands will be civilians. Nobody will care, much. Most of the US casualties will be accidents, not results of enemy activity per se. In the aftermath of the war, all sorts of unsavory things will come out about Saddam and his regime. Chem and biological weapons will be found. Scientists will come forward to tell what they have been doing - trying to develop WMDs. And the torture victims will tell their stories. The Iraqi people will be happy to have been liberated.
France, Germany, and Russia will come around. Their interest in peace comes from three things: great power politics, public opinion, and their current privileged oil-service contracts under food-for-oil. As it becomes clear the USA will attack regardless of what the security council does, the politicians concerned with great-power politics, and the corporations concerned with oil-service profits, will change their tunes. This will result in the states changing policy. Public opinion will remain against the war, but most will shut up quickly after the quick victory comes. (Just look at how much people now talk about Afghanistan.)
The aftermath of the war is what is to be feared. American statists (both right and left) will learn what they always learn from war: that it "works". (It certain does work to destroy; but the state is awful at building.) America will be just as belligerent in future. Iraq will flounder as a democracy. The Wilsonian mission will fail. Muslims worldwide will continue to hate us. The victory will temporarily dampen their enthusiasm, but the failure of the resulting regime and its descent into despotism, unchecked by the USA, will reawaken their hatred. Terrorism will not be affected.
Worst of all, the USA has clearly signalled that every state that does not want to be pushed around by the USA had better get nuclear weapons. The leaders of these states have their own self-interest in mind. So, they will get nukes ASAP. The resulting proliferation will make it easier for terrorists to get a bomb, and eventually they will. And, what with America still pushing around the world, supporting authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia, and still being hated for doing so, terrorists will use the bomb on us. New York or Washington. 10-20 years.
That's my prediction. I hope I am wrong.