Bashing President George W. Bush for the war in Iraq is nothing new. Many of the detractors will accuse him of several things: greed for oil (where is the oil and why are prices high?!?), revenge for Saddam's issues with Bush 41, imperialism, etc... I will not just pass by the fact that Iraq was at the front of W's mind when he became President. However, there is another reason for this preoccupation with Iraq.
In 1998, President Clinton signed into law the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998". The main focus of this act is described in its title: "To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq." I find it amazing the various issues this Act was supposed to address: Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iran (1980-1988), killing up to 180,000 kurds and using chemical weapons against about 5,000 Kurds (1988), Kuwait occupation (1990), failed plot to assassinate George Bush (1993), possible desire to attack Kuwait again (1994), deception of UN inspectors regarding weapons (1996-2003), ceased cooperation with inspectors completely (1998).
Section 3 of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 simply states "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime."
From Section 6 we read "the Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law."
Further, I have found some interesting quotes at this forum:
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
"Hussein has .. chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
Also, regarding the failed attempt on Bush 41's life, we shouldn't villify a sitting President for wanting using that as a reason to oust a dictator (which George W. Bush hasn't used but Clinton did use as a reason!). Remember, from above, that part of Bill Clinton's Iraq policy was also meant to seek revenge for that! It was an assassination attempt against a sitting President - of course we should seek out those who tried.
I wanted to look up some more quotes, and I may do so in the future. I would like to see what Hillary and Kerry said about the act back in 1998. I believe that this passed 98-0 in the Senate, so everyone was on board with it (including Senator Kerry). To be sure, this act was really only intended to give support to Iraqi dissidents, but it did state that Saddam needed to be removed from power. George Bush was the one who carried out Bill Clinton's plan for this.