Originally Posted by TexanBob
My personal opinion as to why we invaded Iraq (in no particular order):
1) Overthrowing Saddam stablizes the region, maybe not short term but I believe long-term, we are removing a madman from the region and implementing a government that, it is hoped, will be more U.S. - friendly.
2) Enforcing the U.N. sanctions placed against Iraq at the end of the Gulf War as a requirement to end hostilities. IOW, we got a cease-fire *provided* Saddam stuck to the terms of the agreement. He didn't, so we are enforcing the agreement they signed back then.
3) Greater security for Israel. Not to be overlooked is cutting off the cash flow for suicide bombers and removing someone with the capability to shoot missiles into Israel at a moment's notice.
4) A military presence in the region. Instead of being based in a tiny land like Qatar or Yemen, we can set up a base that can easily reach Syria, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, etc. in a matter of minutes. It should make those governments easier to deal with now that they've seen how quickly we can overthrow Saddam. They know now we're serious about rooting out terrorists.
5) A new source of oil. Once the hostilities die down, I will expect us to make agreements with the new Iraqi government to buy oil from them. This will, in turn, make us less dependant on the Saudis who have been ambivalent about going after terrorists. We could, if necessary, wean ourselves off of Saudi oil if they don't cooperate with us. Right now, we're the b**** of the Sauds cause we need their oil. With a new competitor in the neighborhood, we can better control the prices.
6) Taking out a nest of terrorists. There should be no question by now that there are terrorists in Iraq, whether they were already there or if they came in after Saddam was toppled. But they're shooting their wad in a country halfway around the world instead of setting off their bombs in Manhattan and D.C. And while the loss of American lives is unfortunate, at least they were mostly U.S. soldiers and others who are trained in combat and not Ma and Pa Kettle on their way to the supermarket in Anytown U.S.A.
So what about the WMDs? We needed to know if Saddam had them or not. He acted like he was hiding them and maybe he did hide them or maybe he dismantled them or shipped them off to Syria or Libya. Nobody knows right now. But if it turned out that the threat was exaggerated, I still support what we've done there for the reasons I've enumerated above.
Call it opportunism or "the end justifies the means", but I think the Middle East is on the road to greater stability with what we've done and we've put the remaining rogue states on notice that if they don't play ball with us, they could be next.