Down the slippery slope we tumble: Flyer begins on an accurate note reflecting that when the war was "sold" it was a nuanced argument. Essentially, Bush gave a multi-faceted punch list of why we needed Saddam gone. Not the least of which was the continued brush-off given to the U.N. declarations about inspections and disarmament - but it was kind of hard for Bush to give too much credence to the U.N. position since he was about to ignore the institution all together. The Admin. clarifies that Iraq was never positioned as an "imminent" threat, but rather a "grave and growing" one.
Whatever reasons Bush gave us for the war, we must all be clear that the invasion of any country, no matter how reprehensible that target country is, is a grave matter. When most people think of why our country has gone to war, it has been to check an aggressive and threatening militarized nation. In some cases the rationale has been clear (i.e. Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan), in others, a muddled mix of fear and policy (Korea, then Vietnam - two proponents of the Red Menace).
The Iraq invasion took the idea of what a threat meant to a whole different level. In essence, we had to hunt for suspected reasons to demonstrate a threat, whereas before, we could see the planes, bombs and tanks with our own eyes actually fighting. Sure Iraq had aggressive policies, and if given the opportunity, Saddam may have very well have tried to implement them. Then the question becomes at what point must we stop him from obtaining that opportunity? Is it when the first tank rolls off the assembly line or when he invades another sovereign nation (don't forget, Bush, Sr. repeatedly said how bad it would have been to take out Saddam - even after he was thrashing the poor Kuwaitis around). I keep harping on N. Korea, but gee whiz, we've had 50,000 troops stationed across the border for what, 50 years now...letting the country develop nuclear weapons (as long as we can monitor it - we know how much that scares dictators). Yet all we do is go back to more negotiations at big tables, hoping that a lunatic will change his spots. Lord Chamberlain was playing that gambit too (note, I suppose I can't equate W with Hitler if I'm accusing his admin. of playing appeasement in the name of Chamby).
What W did was change the rules of the game while insisting he wasn't. People bandy about the word "preemption" but I certainly think you have to agree. This was not a defensive war. And maybe, that's not a bad thing. But the back-tracking and evasiveness by the Admin., with its parsing of words, creates a foul cloud of noxious fumes over the whole proceeding, which when you look back on, did the world a great deal of good. If I was advising Bush, and god help him the day that happens, I'd say to stop parsing definitions and get onto how our world is a better place. The danger with that stance, I'll admit, is that you can then start looking around for other places that need cleaning. To which I answer: we've set the example, it's up to everyone else to start pitching in.