The Washington Times reports on a Harris poll that found that 50% of Americans believe that Iraq had WMDs at the time of the US invasion.
While anti-war activists will decry this number, the idea that it’s utterly irrational to believe such a thing is wrong. We haven’t found any proof that Saddam had anything but heavily degraded leftovers, but it remains quite possible that what he did have was either hastily destroyed or shipped elsewhere. The argument that Saddam did not have WMD and that Bush lied about it all is the real delusion – absence of evidence does not imply evidence of absence, especially when there is some new and quite tantalizing documentary evidence in newly released documents suggesting an active chemical program.
Granted, nobody has proof either way, and the information is often conflicting. However, it’s not surprising that many thing Saddam did have WMDs. We know he had and used them in 1988. We know from Richard Butler’s UNSCOM report in 1998 that Iraq was deliberately hiding something from inspectors and that significant amounts of material remains unaccounted for.
The burden of documenting Iraq’s WMD stocks was always upon the former Iraqi regime, and they failed to do so. Whether or not Iraq really did have WMDs in 2003 or not is now a largely academic question – what is important is ensuring that yet another terrorist regime doesn’t spring up in Iraq and that the nascent free Iraqi government has a chance to defend itself against those who would tear Iraq apart.