Was he pointing nuclear weapons at us?
No. He wasn't.
Would he if he could have?
Of course he would have (after he destroyed Israel of course). To think that a completely insane dictator like Saddam was reliable and responsible enough to be left alone after 9/11 would have been the very height of ignorance.
Many people in this country took as a statement of fact that Saddam was not a threat and should have been left alone. I repeatedly posted the reasons why they were wrong: Saddams connection to WMD production, his connection to international terrorists, his repeated attempts to shoot down US planes, his bragging about paying off Palestinian suicide bomber families in support of the goal towards death to Israel. Even his unrefuted connections to the 1993 WTC attack, not to mention the still unrefuted reports from Czech authorities of Iraqi intelligence meeting with Mohammed Atta.
Christopher Hitchens has written an article at Slate that many in the anti-war camp don't want you to read, because boy will they look irresponsible. Saddam needed to go, and anyone with a freaking lick of sense should have been able to see it. Sadly, there were not many "licks" to go around four years ago.
Let us start with President Bush’s speech to the United Nations on Sept. 12, 2002, which I recommend that you read. Contrary to innumerable sneers, he did not speak only about WMD and terrorism, important though those considerations were. He presented an argument for regime change and democracy in Iraq and said, in effect, that the international community had tolerated Saddam’s deadly system for far too long. Who could disagree with that? Here’s what should have happened. The other member states of the United Nations should have said: Mr. President, in principle you are correct. The list of flouted U.N. resolutions is disgracefully long. Law has been broken, genocide has been committed, other member-states have been invaded, and our own weapons inspectors insulted and coerced and cheated. Let us all collectively decide how to move long-suffering Iraq into the post-Saddam era. We shall need to consider how much to set aside to rebuild the Iraqi economy, how to sponsor free elections, how to recuperate the devastated areas of the marshes and Kurdistan, how to try the war criminals, and how many multinational forces to ready for this task. In the meantime—this is of special importance—all governments will make it unmistakably plain to Saddam Hussein that he can count on nobody to save him. All Iraqi diplomats outside the country, and all officers and officials within it, will receive the single message that it is time for them to switch sides or face the consequences. Then, when we are ready, we shall issue a unanimous ultimatum backed by the threat of overwhelming force. We call on all democratic forces in all countries to prepare to lend a hand to the Iraqi people and assist them in recovering from more than three decades of fascism and war.
Not a huge amount to ask, when you think about it. But what did the president get instead? The threat of unilateral veto from Paris, Moscow, and Beijing. Private assurances to Saddam Hussein from members of the U.N. Security Council. Pharisaic fatuities from the United Nations’ secretary-general, who had never had a single problem wheeling and dealing with Baghdad. The refusal to reappoint Rolf Ekeus—the only serious man in the U.N. inspectorate—to the job of invigilation. A tirade of opprobrium, accusing Bush of everything from an oil grab to a vendetta on behalf of his father to a secret subordination to a Jewish cabal. Platforms set up in major cities so that crowds could be harangued by hardened supporters of Milosevic and Saddam, some of them paid out of the oil-for-food bordello.
Well, if everyone else is allowed to rewind the tape and replay it, so can I. We could have been living in a different world, and so could the people of Iraq, and I shall go on keeping score about this until the last phony pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer.
Iraq may continue to be unstable, the Shiites and the Sunnis may continue to duke it out for supremacy. But in the words of PJ O'Rourke, who wants a stable Iraq?
When Iraq was stable, it attacked Israel in the 1967 and 1973 wars. It attacked Iran. It attacked Kuwait. It gassed the Kurds. It butchered the Shiites. It fostered terrorism in the Middle East. Who wants a stable Iraq?
The Iraq that exists now will no longer be able to attack the US in the way that Saddam was capable of a few years ago. And those who don't understand this are not responsible enough to be making decisions about the War against Islamic terrorists.