Substantiated by intelligence information that was available to the White House before the invasion.
No, Bush didn't lie. The mantra that Bush lied, people died, is simply a simplistic bumper sticker that doesn't hold up to the facts.
Well when you claimed "Invading other nations that are not a threat to the US, on the other hand, is not something that a democratic nation should be doing. Having done so in Iraq...", that would imply we knew at the time that it wasn't a danger. But at the time, all the information gathered indicated there was a danger.
So... what would you suggest? Every single time there is any information about any dangers, we just assume the info is suspect, and ignore it? Would you be making a similar case if the CIA had information and knowledge of 9/11 prior to? No you would not, because the CIA did have some scattered information regarding 9/11, but it wasn't conclusive and the CIA did nothing. What did we hear after 9/11? Oh those horrible CIA agents who had some information and didn't act. It was governments fault, those bastards. How could they have some indications this would happen and not act?
Now, you spin around and attack Bush for doing the very thing many attacked the CIA for not doing.
Tell me, what if all the information was true, and nuclear bombs or Chem/Bio weapons were being built, and WMDs were being passed off to Al Qaeda terrorist to be used on American soil, and our government had said... "yeah but we really don't know for 100% sure. It could be faulty and we don't want to invade and find out it's not true!" Would you be applauding Bush after a US city was irradiated?
Of course not. You have effectively setup a situation where no matter which course of action is taken, you'll be hammering Bush over it.
What really happened is that the US invaded Iraq on the basis of faulty information, pure and simple.
Really do me a favor and put yourself in Bush's shoes. If you had been given all this information about a clear indications from all the evidence that Iraq was doing thus and so... If it's true and you fail to act, thousands may die. If it's false and you do act, you can hammered about it. Which option do you choose?
Clinton failed to act on dozens of terrorist attacks at both civilian and military targets. The result was 9/11.
According to the Iraq Survey Team, Iraq was far closer to a nuclear bomb than anyone had imagined. The best estimates, based on the level of technology they had, the amount of equipment found, and the grade of Uranium discovered, a nuclear bomb could have been built in roughly 3 months at best, under a year at worst.
Knowing that if you are wrong, a mad man seeking a working relationship with Al Qaeda, could have a bomb in 3 months if you do nothing, what do you do? Bush waited 2 years after saying we were going to deal with Saddam. Yeah, very rash, whatever. So what do you do PLC? What if your wrong, and millions of Americans are killed by a nuclear bomb in the US, built in Iraq?
Pretty easy with our 20/20 hindsight to say the intel information was wrong, and we should not have gone isn't it. A tad different when the lives of millions are on your shoulders, in the moment that you face the information given.
There were, indeed, differences between what we "knew" going in and what we found on the ground.
The decision to invade Iraq was done rashly and without properly checking out the facts. The result was a long and costly war that is still going on, and still must go on for a while yet.
Bush waited 2 years. That is anything but 'rash'. Clinton, who obviously wasn't rash, waited a mere 13 days, amazingly just a day or so after his grand jury testimony hit national headlines, before authorizing a missile strike against a Sudan plant that he accused of producing chemical weapons.
However it was discovered it only produced medications and aspirin, which provided 50% of the medications used in Sudan. This sparked the largest ever recorded anti-American march in the middle east.
The administration further compounded the error by believing Dan Rumsfeld when he said that the war wouldn't last more than six months. That led to going in with an insufficient force to keep the peace after the invasion, and led to the establishment of Al Qaeda in Iraq after the war started. The whole thing was a fiasco from the start.
The actual war with Saddam's Iraq, did not last six months. Regardless of whether the administration believed him or not, no one would have been ready for the difficulty that followed. When an Iraqi company of troops, hears some test fires, assumes the war started, and walks across the boarder to a British company, and tries to surrender... would you PLC, assume that this would be a long drawn out issue? Of course not. No one would.
Of course, I still disagree with the conclusion. There is ample evidence that Saddam did have at least some stock piles of WMDs. The question is where are they. We have satelite photos of caravans of military vehicles going into Syria. What did they have? Why were the inspectors not allowed to enter military bases until dozens of vehicles left out the back? What was in them? Where did they go? Of the stock piles Saddam did have, if he did dismantle them, where are the remains?
For example, the UN claims that roughly 57 missile production plants were gutted. The equipment used is missing and totally unaccounted for. Where is it? Who has it? What all was there? The UN says it had production equipment for chemical warhead missiles. Who has all this stuff? If it was destroyed, why couldn't we find the remains?
Question... is it possible wherever the missile production equipment went, the WMDs went too? Remember, Iraq had a full 2 years to hide everything. One of our commanders said nearly the entire country is a ammo dump. They found massive underground ammo store houses right near the boarder with Iran. The ammo sites had been there so long, the locals knew about them and turned them in to US forces. How many still hidden spots have we not found?