Without the 9/11 attacks, what would have been the justification for invading Iraq or Afghanistan? Funny how you keep making excuses for the Dems, Nat, while calling me a liar. I think I am much more objective in seeing the parts that BOTH major American political parties played in various events, while you seem to be trapped (trap yourself) into seeing and defending only one side.
As so often happens here, you are stubborn in clinging to your viewpoints, despite evidence to the contrary. You certainly have a right to your opinions, as do I, but don't confuse opinion and interpretation with fact.
We've hashed this out before, and nothing will make you reconsider your positions. So, I won't rehash this in depth. Suffice to say that news reports pre-Iraq invasion noted that even some UN inspectors commented that they were not allowed free access to make inspections of Iraq's weapons capabilities. Rather, Huseein's govt officials herded the inspectors where they wanted them to go. So, if someone had prohibited weapons stashes, but could control where and when UN inspectors made visits, they could have easily moved the stashes about and made it appear that nothing was amiss. Also, it was reported that Hussein had deployed vehicle-launched missles that could be moved from place to place, thus avoiding detection and possible elimination from air strikes. The West-imposed "no fly" zone was limited, mostly to the northern Kurdish areas of Iraq, with large expanses of the country's air space still controlled and defended by Iraq's military. Given wide speculation that Hussein possessed chemical and/or biological (if not nuclear) weapons that could be delivered via missle to places such as Isreal, the existance of these mobile missle launchers (or any launchers) would be a significant threat.
Of course, in retrospect, we now know that there was little in the way of WMD in Husseinm's hands, but we did not know it then. You will grant that Dems in Congress feared being blamed for not supporting the Iraq invasion lest another terrorist attack occur. Why can't you grant the same consideration to Bush Admin officials and Republicans in Congress? Had the inspections not detected an existing threat, and if other terrorist attacks ensued, people like you would be the first to blame Bush forever for "not taking the threat seriously and failing to act to protect the American people". You know that is true.
As for Hessin, as the old saying goes, "There is force, and then there is the threat of force". One can lack actual capability and yet find effectiveness in others BELIEVING that the capability exists. Hussein, by his statements and his inteference with UN inspectors, seemed to want the West to THINK he had WMD capabilities. So, perceptions can still be a valid cause for response.
Consider if I am walking about, with no actual weapon on my person, but speaking/behaving as if I did have a weapon and could use it at any moment against innocent people. Could anyone blame law enforcement, or even the average citizen, for assaulting me to end this perceived threat? If I am around the police, acting as if I am a threat, I don't think anyone would blame police for acting accordingly and probably shooting me pre-emptively. Likewise, if Hussein or some other dictator acts as if he has the capability to attack, then no one should be surprised when others take that perceived threat seriously and take actions to eliminate the threat. Conversely, if I don't want to incite attack against my country, I should tone down my rhetoric, allow full-access inspections to occur, and give every indication that I am not a threat and want peace. Hussein did not do that -- he did the opposite of that.
Delude yourself if you will, Nat, but that doesn't mean the rest of us will drink the Kool Aid. That is one big problem with our country now: It is damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't, regardless what action is taken. How can we criticize US politicians when we average Americans engage in this same endless back-biting? Had Americans behaved like this 70 years ago, we never could have defeated Germany or Japan and would likely be living under totalitarism today.