A Bridge Too Far
In light of the New Surge of US troops being deployed to Afghanistan to finish the mission and what appears to be a long term presence in Iraq. The US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have some similarities to past military blunders and miscalculations.
The War in Afghanistan plays the role of the Vietnam War and the Battle Britain:
A similar fatal mistake made in Vietnam has yet to cause nearly as great of harm. That is the attempt to defeat a mostly indigenous with near minimal force thought necessary. So far all the lack of abundant ground troops has caused is dragged out conflict that has US troops relying heavily on air strikes that have increased the civilian death tolls into the thousands in air strikes alone and have been questioned by human rights watch groups. A lot of the civilian dearth and growing resentment of the American government by Afghans is directly caused by the redistribution of ground troops to oust the former dictator of Iraq. Much in the same way the Germans diverted troops from defeating the Brits and then focused on defeating the threat from the Soviets, even though there was no war with the Soviets when the German troops refocused to defeat the Evil Empire. Deployment of troops into Iraq has made long and short term success in Afghanistan exponentially harder to achieve.
The Iraq War is similar to Operation Barbarossa:
Calls from Bush advisers to invade Iraq were made easier to listen by real actions of Saddam's regime, past and "present" and by a allegations of snake oil salesmen. Continued regurgitation of allegations by Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress only have helped fan the flames of distrust of America. Not to mention made Iran more paranoid by US troops bookending their borders. Bush laid out the intelligence for a regime change in Iraq that relied on Congress trusting intelligence of an al Qaeda/Saddam link and intelligence of an Iraqi WMD program/stockpile that was of a highly dubious nature not known to other decision makers. I hope for Bush that confirmation bias lead him to truly believe Saddam would use al-Qeada as a proxy despite exculpatory evidence that there was mutual distrust between the two groups. A strong fear of a worst case scenario based only on unsubstantiated fact sets and possible outcomes would be a epically appalling reason to pull troops out of Afghanistan and overthrow even a dictator like Saddam and jeopardize any political capital the US had if the world in other conflicts. A world view of a global struggle between al-Qaeda and similar groups should hold that it is too great to risk long terms gains on short term fears or even hopes of making another country safe for democracy. The additional rationale of invading Iraq because thoughts that history will have a fond view of the Iraq War's results is a hard thing to buy when it relies on the decisions of many future POTUS' and Congressional approval and the Iraqi leaders.
Even fear of a mushroom cloud over a city would be reason to have doubts about ousting Saddam because of only circumstantial evidence tying Saddam's WMD to terrorist groups and the dubious claims made by the INC.