Raph, you still insist on saying that the President presented Iraq as an imminent threat, when what he did say was that we could not afford to wait, given the realities of 9/11, until the threat was imminent, that when the threat was imminent, it would be too late to act. You may disagree with his rationale, but that is what he said.
Despite the liberal contention that Saddam had no connections with Al Qaida, that's just not the case. He may not have had any operational links with 9/11, but that doesn't mean that he didn't have links and didn't provide safe-haven to terorists. There was a report on ABC back in 1998, I believe, that he had offered Osama bin Laden safe-haven, telling him he was welcome in his country at any time. And despite some of their ideological differences, they were willing to work together against the U.S. : "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" type of deal.
"Especially given what we now all know", if "what we now all know" turns out to be valid, (I still believe that Saddam shipped what he had to Syria just prior to and during the early part of the war) is Monday-morning quarterbacking, Raph. We went on the intelligence that we had back then. If the intelligence proved faulty, that just highlights the importance of maintaining a sufficient level of funding to ensure a strong, reliable intelligence service, and not significantly reducing funding to it, and hampering its ability to gather reliable intelligence by tying its hands with all sorts of new cumbersome regulations as happened throughout the Clinton years.
I don't agree that Saddam's tyranny was never an issue. The rationale to go to war was never 'just about' WMD's. The rationale was that being the type of person that Saddam had proven to be, we could no longer continue to ignore the threat he posed to the U.S., especially in light of the fact that he continued to be uncooperative in any attempts to bring him into compliance with the long string of resolutions regarding his weapons capabilities. Some people seem to forget that Saddam had been playing games with the U.N. for 12 years and had been given many opportunites to come clean. He would not account for many of the weapons that the U.N. knew that he had in the early 90's. Would it have been prudent for the U.S. not to have acted, knowing that he had connections with known terrorists, knowing that he himself was a terrorist who funded terrorists like the PLO, knowing the weapons that he once had, that the world could only assume that he still did have, given the fact that Saddam would not give a full accounting, and when all the intelligence agencies of the world, not just U.S. intelligence, said he still had them? The ball was in his court, clearly, Raph, and he blew it.
And why should all of those atrocities in all those other countries have taken precedence? Who's call is that? Saddam was committing atrocities in his country as well. Remember, he's the guy who had people put through meat-grinders while they were still alive. Why not deal with Iraq first, instead of second, third, or fifth, or not at all? Why not?
Free elections in Afghanistan, I think Ali said for the first time in 500 years, and where even the women are allowed to vote, yes that is a big deal, a very big deal. And it's a big step in the right direction.
Yes, things in Iraq are messy right now, and will get even more so leading up to their elections. That has been predicted for months now. The insurgents are desperate and are acting out their desperation. But is tyranny better than messy? War is messy, but I think most people would agree that their freedom is worth it.
The terrorists are the ones who deserve the world's wrath, and are the ones responsible for the deaths that their actions cause, not those who are fighting them. We are making the world safer by standing against them. If they aren't withstood tooth and nail, the world will only become more unsafe as they spread their tyranny and violence without restraint.