We attacked Iraq because we (and the rest of the world) had a UN mandate to do so and had had for over a decade.
We will not attack Iran or Syria without a similar mandate or clear provocation.
On the part of Iran that would be a terrorist nuke in Charleston or Newark traced back to Iran. On the part of Syria, a terrorist attack in Atlanta or Seattle using the chem. (bio?) WMDs they got from Iraq.
Neither Iran nor Syria has the military capability to mount an offense strike against Iraq, or anyone else for that matter, except possibly Lebanon.
Neither country has anything like a modern offensive capability and the few military forces they have are essentially geared towards maintaining authoritarian power in those country.
Although Iran’s been upgrading it’s offensive capabilities and it’s SCUD “Bs” and “Cs” can reach most parts of the middle east, including Israel. It’s reasonable to assume that Iran has chemical weapons and will shortly have a nuke, the “Persian bomb.” That will change the issues some, but I believe a democratic Iran is closer than a lot of you might think. I’d much rather deal with a nuclear armed democratic Iran than the current Mullocracy
I sometimes make flippant remarks like the aircraft carrier bit
But nothing is ever as simple as a one-issue goal and the same is true in Iraq and the Middle East.
I made the argument earlier that Iraq was the perfect place to start democracy in the Middle East and I still see no reason to revise that view.
There is a multicultural structure there that lends itself to compromise and, eventually, non-sectarian government.
Do I think it’s a sure thing? By no means, can there be a civil war? I’m not sure, 80% of Iraqis are looking forwards to some type of self-determination and I don’t think the remaining 20% is all that keen on a civil war.
I think a similar type of situation we saw in Lebanon is possible, but here again, Lebanon was too militarily weak to resist the cross border operations of the Syrian. With the “Third Herd” and 4th ID on the ground in Iraq, the possibility of active military adventurism by Syria and Iran is very slim.
I'll boldly predict that a truly democratic (insert name here, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc) will be the most significant change in the Middle East since the birth of Mohammed.
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing