It is a very long read, even for someone like me who would rather read than eat, but the article found at this link: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/special-preview-br--why-iraq-was-inevitable-11456 is the best historical treatment of the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Husein's Bathists I have seen to date. It is even-handed and very well researched--two things lacking in most commentary these days.
To sum up, for those of you with READ (Reading Enjoyment Attention Deficit):
1. We were technically at war with Iraq since his invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Our 1991 combat operations to dislodge Iraqi forces from Kuwait ended in a cease-fire, the conditions for which Iraq continually and increasingly breached in the ensuing decade.
2. Nearly every politician, pundit, and positor of any weight at either end of the political spectrum called for the end of Saddam's Bathist regime--most citing his clear desire to develop weapons of mass destruction, his mistreatment of people other than his own Sunni tribal cousins, and the harboring/support of terrorists groups. The latter got the attention of the likes of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and a host of others on the left following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and their "get-Saddam" rhetoric matched the most vehement of the Neo-Cons in the Bush II administration.
3. Despite their "opposition to the war" today, nearly every politician of any weight on the left supported the 2003 invasion aimed at toppling Saddam's Bathist regime.
4. To paraphrase the pre-invasion advice of Colin Powell: "We broke it--We own it."
5. Rumsfeld and company at the Pentagon mismanaged the aftermath of the fall of Saddam. This should not have been a surprise, he mismanaged similar events in his previous stint at SecDef.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: We have fought this Global War on Terrorism, or whatever it is that we are calling it this week, as if it were just another federal project at which we could throw tax dollars but for which we would not make the effort to muster the public support without which success is rarely achieved. Despite the price tag we hear daily in the media, we have tried to fight this war "on the cheap." No sacrifice called for from the American people. No ramping-up of American industry (with the notable exception of the MRAP--a purely defensive vehicle) to provide the material necessary for prosecution of a war. No declaration of war--just platitudes about fighting a war for decades, the end of which we may not recognize.
Ridiculous. See why I left active duty early?