Yea, Saddam was a bad person, but he was far worse to the followers Islamic fundementalists then the US will ever be. If our real intentions in Iraq were to hurt the fundementalists, we should’ve just sent Saddam a billion dollars worth of weapons and he probably would’ve finished them off in his own country and then tried to take out the Mullahs in Iran. I don’t think even Bush has tried to justify the Iraq war by saying it was part of a war against Islamic fundementalism.
Bush put forward his opposition to nation building as one of the key differences between his and Gore’s stances on National Security back in 2000. IIRC, one of the Republican arguments was that Clinton had “worn down” the US army by fighting non-essential wars in Yugoslavia. Bush also was still tied to his fathers legacy, under whose administration the Powell Doctorine had been formed to justify not persuing the destruction of the Iraqi regime after the first Gulf War.
Honestly its strange that Bush seemed to precieve the dangers of open ended occupations in 2000, yet was still caught so flat footed when Iraq slid from bad to worse.