zap, you are dead right. I think much of the Iraq War was Bush saying “Look what I did after you killed 3,000 of us. What do you think I will do if you kill 30,000 or 300,000? I kicked Sadaam’s ass sideways and he had little to do with 9-11. Just think what I will do to your country if you plot against us in the future.” The one thing you can count on a dictator to understand is fear. It was meant to get Muslim COUNTRIES to start towing the line and fighting these terrorists operating within their borders. It worked to a great degree too. It got Pakistan to stop exporting nuclear equipment and technology and Libya to give up its WMD programs among many other positive outcomes.
Also, fighting a war in Iraq was like putting a CO2 mosquito collector in your back yard to kill them. It drew thousands of terrorists to one location to fight us and made the job of killing them far easier. The war in Iraq is the single biggest reason we have not seen any more domestic attacks, IMO. Bush defined the battlefield and that is the best way to win a war by fighting it where you want. I respect Bush for not caving in to the political pressure and doing whatever he thought was necessary to keep us safe. His results in this area since 9-11 should be all we need to not be so judgmental of him. Obama can only hope to have as much success in keeping us safe during his time as president.