What About All Those Pesky Missing WMDs in Iraq…?

I never thought WMDs in Iraq probable (although possible.) My reasons for this opinion were generally rejected, though, by “average Americans” (people relatively unsophisticated about politics who trusted a narrow, steady diet of  conservative news outlets) with whom I spoke on the subject at the time—so enthralled were they at the time with the booming Saddam-As-Evil-Incarnate pro-war propaganda machine as to be unreceptive to any alternate probabilities.

The reasons I thought Saddam probably didn't have WMDs were: (1) He was unlikely to have been able to conceal WMDs throughout so many years of U.N. sanctions and scrutiny; (2) he was unlikely to respond to the imminent U.S. threat by admitting he had no defensive capacity; (3) U.N. inspectors were very clear about the fact that their expensive and expansive searches had not as yet found any such weapons; (4) all the U.S. pro-war hawks had already embraced sufficient motivations for invading Iraq–motivations including cockiness, dominance, militarism, oil and power lust, ideology, fear, religious convictions involving protection of  Israel, U.S. strategic and commercial interests, too much testosterone (see “cockiness” above), a desire to test and use their fancy new weapons and troops, “because they could,” and so on….) So I distrusted what they said about WMDs (along with everything else) as likely being just another part of their long dubious list of overblown, panic-inducing manufactured justifications for going to war; and (5) I knew enough about the U.S. government's history of setting up and supporting tyrannical thugs throughout the world in the past, not to buy into any newly convenient shrill indignation about how suddenly dangerous to the U.S. Saddam Hussein had become, how he'd gassed his own people, etc. It was the U.S. (the CIA) who originally set Saddam Hussein up as Iraq's leader, who financially supported him in exactly that type of thuggery for many many years, in order to protect “our” cheap and steady flow of Iraqi oil from any possible Iran-like oil industry nationalization. (For annotated and documented history of such repugnant U.S. actions, read he-whom-conservative-demagogues-most-fear-you'll-read: MIT's Noam Chomsky. For starters.)

Although I didn't write critically about the WMD speculations post 9/11, a lot of very informed and interested people who opposed invasion did. I wish someone would take the (considerable) research trouble to compile an “I told you so” expose, listing all the thoughtful people who, before the war, accurately predicted in U.S. daily newspapers, exactly what happened later in Iraq.

I wish this researcher would list who and when and what each critic wrote at that time, to answer all those who now say, “Everyone worldwide thought there were WMDs.” This assertion is simply blatantly false–“everyone” did not believe that. A multitude of spot-on pre-war critics were writing frantically, in both U.S. and international periodicals and newspapers, offering scholarly, articulate, and perfectly reasonable rationales against WMDs and invasion, although by then, most Americans–including, unfortunately, many in government leadership roles–were so terrified by the steady drumbeat of pro-war, pro-fear propaganda that their minds were made up, and they never even bothered to read about or consider such warnings. 

Anyone who was the least bit skeptical about the logic, trustworthiness, and veracity of the Bush administration's blustering could have read all such arguments in many daily U.S. and international newspapers, and certainly they were rampant on the web. For example, most of such arguments against WMDs and invasion were right there in black-and-white, as plain as day (if sometimes in small print and at the ends of articles) in The Washington Post—the daily newspaper I read—tied up with string, for me and all others willing and capable of looking past the pro-war lies and hype.