1. I'm not sure how it make sense to compare the removal of a brutal dictator (your words) to a butterfly spreading its wings. That is just nonsensical.
2. Actually Saddam is ranked fairly high in terms of the amount of people slaughtered under his rule. Between the al-Anfal Campaign and the suppression operations of the 1990's it is estimated Saddam's regime directly murdered almost half a million of its citizens. This puts him somewhere in between Mengstu and Pol Pot, so let's not quibble: he was a monster.
3. Iraq's acquisition of chemical weapons has sourced to a huge variety of countries and petrochemical companies that exported chemical compounds and in some cases synthesized materials to Iraq. The largest patrons were the Netherlands, Germany, France, Singapore, Brazil, etc. The United States provided comparatively little and nor did the Commerce Department approve the direct export of chemical products to Iraq.
4. Desiring that neither Iranian theocracy nor the fascistic government of Iraq would dominate the region was not a sin on the Reagan administration. Like Kissinger quipped "It's a pity they can't both lose." Absent of direct intervention, the only tool the US had was tinkering with the levers of supply and support and fighting on the margins to prevent one side from claiming victory. Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad took place in this context.
5. No question the decision to abandon the Kurds, and specifically the Barzani's without warning is one of the darkest blemishes Kissinger has to his name. However it is again worth noting that absent actual intervention like we had in 2003 there was not a huge amount that could have been done beyond funneling arms and supplies to the Kurds which we had been doing.
6. The Kurds should be outside national controls, they have a Federal agreement with the central government and quite frankly the KRG is an exemplar of what the Iraq War could still accomplish.
7. The elections were hardly shams, that was the whole problem remember? Allawi's Iraqqiya list won a slim majority over Malaki's list, however it took months of painstaking negotiations to get a coalition agreement and keep the government standing. Despite the flaws the situation was resolved via a political resolution, not death squads. Moreover the recent local elections once again have shown that power can and has shifted electorally in the country.
8. The proponents of the Iraq War are usually not arguing that in 2013 Iraq is better than it was in 1979 (before the Iran-Iraq war and the tightening of Saddam's group) what they have usually argued is that Saddam's removal and the implantation of democratic rule offers Iraq the chance at a better future than its ever expected before and the situation is continually improving.
Libertarian and Atheist...wow I'm a hated man.