Al Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election. If he became president, he maintained in 2002, he would not invade Iraq. He knew that the intelligence on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction was mixed -- the Bush administration exaggerated that threat -- and he predicted the US could not bring democracy or stability to Iraq even it it spent trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives. But if Gore did not invade, how would things have turned out?
Jeff Greenfield in "43: When Gore beat Bush" speculates that Gore would have been pillioried by Republicans, led by Senator John McCain, for his failure to attack Saddam. His vice president, Joe Lieberman, a staunch advocate of the war, would probably have resigned. The Republicans would have exploited Americans' sense of insecurity after 9/11, probably with ads morphing Gore into an appeasing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain before World War II. With the American economy in recession, Gore would not have been a popular president.
Could he have won re-election against a Republican Party clamoring for war, equating Saddam with Hitler, frightening Americans with details of the dictator's weapons of mass destruction, and promising an attack on Iraq as the only way to advance America's security? It would probably have been the most hysterical fear-mongering since the Joe McCarthy era. At least we were spared that.
The two Bush administrations exaggerated the threat of Saddam Hussein, while Democratic opponents of the two wars with Iraq minimized Saddam's threat and what the results of inaction would be.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can also wonder whether Saddam Hussein would have survived the Arab Spring. It's doubtful, given that dictators in Tunisia and Egypt were swept away, while a dictator in Syria teeters on the verge of collapse.
We'll have to leave it to historians to sort out who was ultimately right on the fateful decisions regarding Iraq.