Right across the Board.

Options: Take out Saddam and his main deck of cards, and you are actually left with a mixed army including Kurds.

Kurds, however, were only one possible leverage point. Shia opposition? Internal Sunni dissent? Pressure through those that influence various parties in Iraq?

I, for one, believe that the attacks on Kurds and Shia were so virulent that absent us "Doing Something" Iran (and other neighbors) would have been drawn into that fight, and that a regional conflict was an important unrecognized consideration. The flip side of that is that these regional players were also leverage points.

I know, how stupid. Back Saddam to attack Iran, than spur Iran to attack Iraq.

Back to Dayuhan's point about what exactlyis our legacy in the ME. Divide and conquer? Play all sides against the middle? Whatever.

Lots of options, all of which evaporated once we went in.