Ed Driscoll

Harris Poll: 50 percent Of U.S. Says Iraq Had WMDs

Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times writes:

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, a Harris poll finds. Pollsters deemed the increase both “substantial” and “surprising” in light of persistent press reports to the contrary in recent years.

The survey did not speculate on what caused the shift in opinion, which supports President Bush’s original rationale for going to war. 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.

“Filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist,” said Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, during a June 21 press conference detailing the newly declassified information.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who shared the podium, said, “Iraq was not a WMD-free zone.”

I’m sure the Kurds–and the Hague–would agree.

Update: James Taranto asks, “Why would people not believe what they hear in ‘persistent press reports’? A clue may lie in this report from Harvard Magazine”:

Linda Greenhouse ’68 went to a Simon and Garfunkel concert soon after the war in Iraq began, and in the middle of the concert she had a crying jag. When she accepted the 2006 Radcliffe Institute Medal at the institute’s luncheon on June 9, the New York Times’s Supreme Court correspondent explained: “Thinking back to my college days in those troubled and tumultuous late 1960s, there were many things that divided my generation. . . . [Yet] we were absolutely united in one conviction: the belief that in future decades, if the world lasted that long, when our turn came to run the country, we wouldn’t make the same mistakes. . . . I cried that night . . . out of the realization that my faith had been misplaced. . . . We were the problem.”

Taranto adds:

Too many of today’s reporters are liberal baby boomers who seem less interested in presenting the facts than in reliving the dramas of their misspent youth. Is it any wonder Americans of different generations and ideological outlooks are skeptical?

Not from my point of view.