Like I mean, it turned out that Mr. Hussein didn’t have them after all. But I was a wee lad then and not aware of whether it was extremely obvious he didn’t have any when W was accusing him of having them.
I think today, it’s super obvious that those vaccine microchip conspiracy theorists are a bunch of looneys. Were people who thought Iraqi WMDs were real considered just as crazy at the time?
We had to find some country to blame 9/11 on. The Saudis were beyond reproach so that left Iran and Iraq as possible scapegoats. Iraq seemed to be a more convenient target.
As there was no evidence linking Iraq with 9/11 an alternative justification for invasion was needed.
When it proved that Iraq had neither a role in 9/11 nor WMDs Iran (or Muslims of any nationality) became the culpable.
The WMD thing was always just a pretext for invasion IMO. The decade before the US knew that Saddam had chemical weapons and helped him use them when they believed it was in their strategic advantage (to use against Iranians). The CIA helped Saddam turn the tide against Iran by feeding Saddam key information on Iranian troop locations so he could gas them:
Yep. We knew he had WMDs because the US provided Saddam with WMDs. The case was made to the public.
Fact: Saddam used gas in the past on people. No mention of the CIA culpability.
Fact: Saddam had Scud missiles that could reach Israel. Downplay their effectiveness and the actual
It just took a little doctored intelligence reports released by the CIA and presented by a likeable general and the US had a believable lie. Not unlike the cops sprinkling a bit of crack on a recently shot dealer with a long list of priors and placing his gun from under his car seat into his lap. We just did the scene altering before we shot him.
The way we’ve demonized Iran over the years is amusing to me.
Oh sure, Iran has taken part in some pretty shitty stuff targeted at us, but don’t ever forget it all traces back to our intervention in their government in 1952, our subsequent re-installing of the Shah of Iran, and our 27-year program that kept him in power and helped him repress Iranians who objected to his rule. But always remember, when they finally got pissed about it and stormed the U.S. Embassy in 1979 and took hostages, they were the bad people - not us for creating almost 3 decades of resentment that led up to that.
If we could have charged through Iran without angering the Soviet Union / Russia and risked provoking a head-to-head regional conflict, we’d have been back in there long ago. Probably with all kinds of made-up stories about what they had and what they were doing.
I’ve been looking back at this too. Obviously, it’s sort of what you expect-- Republicans were deeply convinced and pro-war, liberals were more skeptical. 1/3rd Fox News watchers thought we actually found WMDs.
But… There were was also a lot of very smart, earnest, leftish-leaning folks who bought into the WMD story and/or the need for war-- eg. Ezra Klein, Johnathan Chait, David Remnick who have since gone on to become top journalists.
My recollection is that Saddam Hussein himself had bragged about having WMDs, which was apparently bravado.
It was not seen as a crazy conspiracy theory at the time. There’s a reason that Senators Clinton and Kerry (at first) and numerous other Democrats supported Iraq War II… at first.
By fall 2004 when the election happened, it was looking like the WMDs would probably not materialize, but that was well after the fall of Baghdad. I think we invaded around February 2003 and while there was some skepticism (Senator Obama did NOT support the war), it certainly wasn’t considered just a lunatic theory.
ETA: Obama was a mere state Senator at that point, but rose to prominence protesting the war.
I don’t think a lot of senators that gave Bush carte blanche really bought into the idea of a threat They just didn’t want to look weak on terrorism. Sort of a replay of the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin when they didn’t want to look weak of communism, Obama did oppose the war but he was only a state senator at the time so his opposition didn’t have a lot of significance.