This Washington Times story quotes a Harris Poll finding:
Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year…
It should be noted that:
Respondents were questioned in early July after the release of a Defense Department intelligence report that revealed coalition forces recovered 500 aging chemical weapons containing mustard or sarin gas nerve agents in Iraq.
What the Washington Times writer failed to point out (not surprisingly) is that the same Department of Defense stated that the ‘aging chemical weapons’ were left over from the mid-to-late 1980s when indeed Iraq had chemical weapons and indeed, used them on the Kurdish population.
What is also often forgotten is that the UN attempted to pass a resolution condemning Iraq for using the chemical weapons, and QUESS WHO blocked any resolution condemning Iraq for the use of these weapons. The US did publicly condemn Iraq, but backed Iraq in their long-lived war/skirmish against our enemy at the time, Iran.
So, basically, we looked the other way re chemical weapons when it was in our interest (keeping the oil flowing seemed to be our interest), but alleged current stockpiling of chemical weapons was one of several reasons used to invade our new enemies, Iraq, this time around.
One of the realpolitik reasons that many of us were against the current war is that Iraq balanced out Iran. This is the same reason that Nixon/Kissinger brilliantly opened up relations with China in the midst of the Cold War. No one was claiming that the murderous Mao was suddenly sanctified..it just made sense to wedge Russia and China apart.
The current war will continue to fragment Iraq. The majority of Iraqis are Shiites. Iran, not noted for their stupidity while also not noted for their lack of hatred, will attempt to co-opt these breakaway Shiites into their political fold. This aids Iran in their quest against Iraq and strengthens the Shiite population area, if not world, wide.
Yes, we have helped many Iraqis. Yes, there are areas of Iraq that are far better off now, but the center will not hold, and the civil war that we have help unleash will resonate for years and years to come, and the Iranian Cheshire Cat will continue to grin.