From a reader:
I think your claim that WMD was just one of several rationales for the Iraq invasion is true, but somewhat disingenuous. Saddam’s posession of WMD, and his purported intention to use them or give them to terrorists, was the number 1 rationale for invasion, was used to argue that “time is of the essence” and that it would not do to give inspections more time. I certainly rejoice that the Iraqi people now have a chance to create a democratic state, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Bush administration seems to have intentionally and strenuously misled the American people. I’m not a fan of Bush, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt in this and supported the invasion on the assumption that he would not be so low as to play up the danger as imminent just to get what he wanted. I won’t make that mistake again. Frankly, the attempts by his supporters to back away from the WMD claims are a little pathetic.
My response: Well, it may be a “fact that the Bush administration seems to have intentionally and strenuously misled the American people.” But that is like saying it is a “fact” that a mirage looks like a Dairy Queen. That it “seems” like Bush lied to the American people may or may not be a fact. But it is far from demonstrated that Bush, in fact, lied to the American people. To believe that Bush lied, you have to not only believe that the intelligence communities of the United States and Great Britain were wrong, but the intelligence communities of Germany, France, Israel and Russia were wrong too. That’s doable. But, on top of that, you must also believe that Bush knew these intelligence communities were wrong and lied about it. And, you must also believe that Saddam Hussein secretly destroyed his WMD but refused to admit it despite the credible threat of war and the continuation of sanctions.
Meanwhile, I’m not backing off the WMD thing, in part because I never made that the sole focus of my support for the war in the first place (you could look it up). Also, I believe that we’ll find WMD.