Why did we go to war with Iraq? Fritz Hollings thinks it was to capture the Jewish vote.
I have my own opinions which have not changed since before the war started:
1) The sanctions and the no-fly zone were unsustainable. France and others were already calling for ending the sanctions. At the time we assumed that French contractors wanted a share of rebuilding Iraq. We now know that they were being bribed through the oil-for-food program.
2) In order to contain Iraq, we had to keep a large, unwelcome, military presence in Saudi Arabia.
3) Iraq was re-arming. For those who paid attention to Kay's report, Saddam was designing missles and trying to buy them from North Korea. This is well-documented. He had other WMD programs going but they were still small-scale.
4) Saddam had invaded two of his neighbors. There is no reason to think that he would not have invaded a third had he re-armed.
5) Saddam had a direct link with terrorists. He was publicly offering cash to families of suicide bombers. Members of al Qadaida had links with Iraq.
6) He had tried to assasinate both the President of the United States and the Pope.
7) We never really ended hostilities with Iraq. They were firing on planes enforcing the no-fly zone on a regular basis and we were firing on anti-aircraft batteries once or twice a week.
Given all of this, chances are very good that, had Gore been elected, the sanctions would have been lifted and Saddam would be re-arming in earnest right now. He would have eventually moved against one of his neighbors and we would have had to fight him on his terms instead of our own.
Add to this Thomas Friedman's statement that we needed to show the world that we can still take a punch. We were getting a reputation as a country that cannot tolerate any casualties.
Listen to our enemies (or Ted Kennedy). They keep saying that Iraq is turning into another Viet Nam and that we will eventually run away.