Back over at Kevin Drum's place (blog) yesterday, I was musing on his discussion of pre-war Iraqi WMD beliefs, and, even more, his dismissal of Noam Chomsky as not a "serious" critic. Now, I have all the respect in the world for Kevin, but I have as much or more for a challenging critic like Noam Chomsky. As always, keep in mind these comments are on-the-fly, and not vetted, proofed, or multi-drafted.
lest us all not forget that BushCo insisted throughout the run-up that they had oodles of evidence that they could not reveal because of security reasons.
Bush and Co didn't need evidence. All they needed was the conventional wisdom and existing belief that Saddam had weapons.
With their dogmatic emphasis, they cherry picked evidence and convinced themselves the case for war was undeniable. 80% of the free world disagreed.
As mentioned earlier, the rationalist Chomsky also believed there were WMD in Iraq, based upon the evidence that he had seen (admittedly not much).
The difference is that Bush and Co turned the evidence they could find into, for them, an undeniable claim that was widely denied. The claim was not that there was WMD, which almost everyone suspected there to be to some degree.
It was that this was a reason for a war. A just war. That there were no WMD only makes the claims that this was a just war, based upon WMD, that much more a crock.
Because, even with some WMD, the vast majority of the free world was against the war (an immediate war), because they did not consider Saddam Hussein, a weakened despot, an imminent threat.
Without WMD, this becomes so obvious as to not need to mention, though this apparently escapes our mainstream media, also caught up in the fiction of conventional wisdom and ratifying "official" belief systems.