Iraq is better off only if Iraq achieves democracy, which has not happened. Looking at America's history at occupying countries, one would find far more incidents of the US backing dictators, such as Hussein, than converting them to democracies. Preemption should not be looked at without looking back to our failed history of past preemptions. It is just not very good at turning governments into democracies.
If going after such a weak state as Iraq has proven to be so difficult, will this nation have the stomach or the credibility to go after a state which does pose a serious threat to our security?
In 1990 the current president's father responded to Saddam Hussein's conquest of Kuwait with months of diplomacy that culminated in a near universal consensus and coalition to eject Saddam Hussein from Kuwait by military force. My understanding of Kerry's reference to the advisability of passing a global smell test before launching military action was the model created by President Bush I. Opinions obviously differ on how well Bush executed that war, and his decision to allow Hussein to stay in power, and to put down a popular uprising against him that had been encouraged by the US. However, there is near universal acclaim for Bush I's effectiveness in forging a coaltion that was supportive of the use of American military force. Why is the Bush I model inappropriate today?