2. 2002 On Oct 07, Bush gives a speech on national TV introducing and promoting his legislation to authorize his invasion. It did emphasize threat from Hussein weapons and violations involving those weapons. But it also relegated such concerns to equality with other requirements:
In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. And it must release or account for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose fate is still unknown...
America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights -- to the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture. Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time.
If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.
3. 2002 Bush gets passed his act, the "Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq" (also documented here and here). This provides the official justification for his invasion. It lists many planks other than WMD violations, including human rights violations, Hussein's govt's support for non-Al Qaida terrorist groups, implementing the 1991 UN cease fire resolution and other resolutions, and also the Iraq Liberation Act, which clearly establishes democracy as a US foreign policy objective in Iraq. Wikipedia summarizes it accurately: "The resolution cited many factors to justify action", and then lists 11 planks, including "the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the resolution reiterated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement."
Bush's "Signing Statement" announced: "to Iraq's tyrannical regime a powerful and important message: the days of Iraq flouting the will of the world, brutalizing its own people, and terrorizing its neighbors must -- and will -- end." It did not mention WMD or "imminent threat."
How is it, then, that Tom, Nadir, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins all developed the impression that WMD stood as Bush's single reason for invading Iraq? That "establishing a democracy" concerns about human rights got tagged on only after the invasion proved that WMDs did not exist? Where in Bush's UN speech or in his US legislation does WMD possession by Hussein stand alone? Where does it stand without equal weight given to human rights abuses?
I recall in debating to give my support for this war, before the invasion, one absolute requirement that I had: that Bush's forces of Hussein overthrow would explicitly act to facilitate the establishment of a democracy as one stated requirement of victory. I understood that to be the case prior to making my decision, and a key element in my conferring support.
How did Tom, Nadir, and the others miss this point? I can understand them accusing Bush of "lying" in 2002 about promising to erect a democracy in Iraq -- because they say he is lying about this now -- but on what basis do they claim that before the invasion that he ever omitted such a factor from his stated objectives?