At the request of one of the Anonymouses, I'm posting the rationale for the Iraq invasion.
Even though the events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq started before this, to get this kicked off, I'll start with the Congress' Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq resolution of 2002. I'll summarize a few of the points and we'll go from there.
1) The 1990 invasion created a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and enforce UN Security Council resolutions against Iraq
2) After the invasion, Iraq entered into a UN sponsored ceasfire in which it agreed to end its pursuits of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons & cease sponsoring international terrorism
3) Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998
4) in Public Law 105–235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq’s continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in ‘‘material and unacceptable breach of its internationa obligations’’ and urged the President ‘‘to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations’
These 4 items are all historical fact - and the events depicted in the resolution all took place PRIOR to George W Bush taking office. In spite of the fact that we NOW know that Iraq did not possess WMD at the time of invasion, it was public knowledge that they had weapons back in 1998. Furthermore,
5) Iraq persist[ed] in violating resolution of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait
6) the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people. NOTE: While it has now been shown that Hussein did not possess WMD at the time of the invasion, that was hardly the posture he was taking. Not only was there ample intelligence indicating the presence of WMD in Iraq, Hussein (at this point in time) did not permit weapons inspectors back into the country.
7) the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime. NOTE: as early as 1998, it was the policy of the United States to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
8) September 12, 2002, President Bush committed the United States to ‘‘work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge’’ posed by Iraq and to ‘‘work for the necessary resolutions,’’ while also making clear that ‘‘the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable NOTE: as early as September 2002, the President began working with the United Nations - in spite of the oft repeated claim of "unilateral action" - never mind the fact that acting unilaterally is not an evil in and of itself.
To quickly sum up a long post - the first several reasons listed as rationale for the Iraq invasion occured prior to President Bush taking office. President Bush ran for office on a platform that took an aggressive stance against hostile nations that support terrorist activities.
The events of September 11th underscored the importance of taking pro-active stance against increasingly bold terrorist states.
The invasion of Iraq sent a message that we will not tolerate state sponsors of terrorism. Unfortunately, as time went on, the message that was delivered by our media is that the United States does not have the stomach for a fight. IMO, it was the stance taken by the media that emboldened Iran to press forward to achieve nuclear capability. When they saw the peoples response to a difficult and expensive fight, they knew there was no way they had the stomach to do anything other than talk while they perform nuclear tests, launch missiles, etc. Fortunately, Israel has no qualms with taking out nuclear facilities in Iran.
On the plus side, President Bush had the perseverance (despite the fact that it was immensly unpopular) to stay and finish the job. Thanks to that perseverence, there is one less terrorist state in the world.