Saddam Hussein had a million man army, and Powell was insistent, in a voice we haven’t heard since that state actors supporting terrorist networks were a greater threat than mere terrorist cells. It didn’t matter, thus, if Iraq were actually at war with the US, Al Qaeda would inevitably seek support in Iraq against the US.
So when I think of the Bush Doctrine, I think of his declaration of America’s top three enemies ‘The Axis of Evil’ in Iran, Iraq and North Korea, three regimes who were clearly American enemies and who would use their state’s resources to fund terror networks in asymmetrical warfare against the US.
Was Iraq closer than Iran in their race for an Islamic Bomb? I say demonstrably yes, and the Bush Administration, in cooperation with the UN and every nation did its best to keep nuclear inspectors engaged to a degree much higher and much more intrusively than we do today in Iran or North Korea.