A review of the situation reveals that George W. Bush had to react to the 9-11 disaster, a modern-day Pearl Harbor "sneak attack" that shattered the status quo. Bush, like Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, had to react to satisfy the public's cry for revenge -- and to preserve the honor of the nation. Roosevelt declared war on Japan. But Bush's response could not be that simple.
In an address to the nation, he expressed outrage and explained the 9-11 attacks were transnational and not the act of a single polity. He said the US had identified 60 countries that harbored terrorists connected to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda and other loosely associated fanatics. Obviously, he explained, we cannot retaliate against dozens of nations harboring jihadists. But he had to do something.
His decision was to gain a foothold in the Middle East where terrorism flourished to draw a line in the sand (so to speak). From this redoubt, he felt al-Qaeda would be flushed out seeking to attack the US presence. He chose Iraq for very good reasons: dictator Saddam Hussein was a clear and present danger to his neighbors in the region; most of the world's ready oil supply was either under his control or close enough for him to attack; his regime wantonly murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens a year, bull-dozing the bodies into makeshift mass graves; only a decade before Saddam invaded his oil-rich neighbor Kuwait, eventually driven out by US and coalition forces; and Saddam made clear his intention to destroy Israel, launching SCUD rockets indiscriminately.
Saddam was a "bad actor,"as the war game modelers say, a deranged and ruthless tyrant who openly threatened to disrupt the Middle East and endanger world stability. He possessed chemical and biological weapons he wantonly employed in a ten-year war with his neighbor Iran in the 1980s. Saddam certainly was not timid about using these "weapons of mass destruction" while his nuclear capability was still in development. No one thought he would hesitate to use them when he could.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched for valid reasons