Originally Posted by Space Tycoon
The main threat Saddam posed was to his own tortured people, and to a much lesser degree, Israel. The Iran-Iraq War, Desert Storm, and twelve years of sanctions had left that country a wretched, debauched, failed state boiling over with ethnic and religious tension. Like Soviet Russia or Jugoslavia, Iraq would have fallen apart eventually. Even during the height of their power, Iraq has never posed a serious threat to the United States of America. That is a fact, whether you choose to ignore it or not.
Taliban were about as far to the right as it is possible to be, for sure. But there has never been any evidence that they had anything to do with 9/11. I know you're a bear for evidence, perhaps you might share some for us? Also, you have to understand the larger context, where they came from and who they were. The Talib movement was the product of a secret multi-decade program of encouraging, even nursemaiding the growth of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East and South Asia. As were Hamas and Shi'iah Islam in Iran.
The real threat in the 1960's, 70's, and early 80's was that the ultraleft and the secular nationalists would take power in the region, giving Moscow a serious edge in the Cold War. Can you imagine, all that oil, gas, all that shipping, all in the hands of the Communists? The whole history of our generation would have turned out much differently. So arming the "religious fanatics" made a kind of geostrategic sense. As bad as Taliban were, the Communists were worse.
You should read up on the history of Soviet-backed regime of Najibullah back in the 1980's. Hundreds of thousands killed, tortured, millions more oppressed. All in the name of "progress," of course--but really to create a staging area for the Russians to invade Pakistan and gain an entry to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf. In fact, there are still former communist forces, like the Northern Alliance, and governments like Uzbekistan who are still in business in that part of the world, and still very much tilted towards Russia. They are no better than Taliban, morally speaking. And I believe Russia still has plans to rebuild it's former empire in that region. They're waiting for America to lose it's stomach for empire, so they can return to being the alpha dog in Central Asia. We may yet miss the Taliban someday...
Going after the real culprits would have been a good start. Respecting the sovereignty of nations, using diplomatic means to have the al-Qaeda network's leaders delivered into the hands of American justice or even international justice. Doing as little damage as possible to the ordinary, everyday people of the region, thereby reducing the likelihood of increased terrorist recruitment.
Unfortunately, this was a tough sell while the ruins were smoldering. But as atrocious as 9/11 was, it did not justify the destruction of Muslim population centres or the deaths of thousands upon thousands of Afghans and Iraqis who had nothing to do with it.
Well, since you seem to feel everyone who criticizes America, hates America, you will have your hands full.