I was struck by a Harris poll released yesterday that suggests the facts don’t really seem to be impacting certain people’s views about the war. Maybe it’s just the lawyer in me, but the facts should matter more.
For example, 19 percent of Americans polled believe that “clear evidence of weapons of mass destruction has been found in Iraq.” Really? Yet there’s no evidence to support that. None. Fifty-one percent believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the war began. And again, not a scintilla a of evidence to suggest that Saddam or any of his henchmen destroyed or deployed WMDs at the outset of the war.
That’s something the weapons inspectors would almost certainly have been able to detect. Yes, he had them at one point. And yes, we had a right to suspect that he had them when the war began. What are they basing this opinion on? I, too, was convinced that Saddam had the weapons based on U.N. reports and other intelligence. But it sure seems now it wasn’t the case. Forty-nine percent believe that there’s clear evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda. Even the administration isn’t going that far.
You can make an argument that there may have been certain contact between an al Qaeda-connected figure and some Iraqi leaders, but even that is tenuous. And there’s nothing to suggest that there is clear evidence of Iraq’s support of al Qaeda. Again, I supported the war, but based on facts and intelligence we had at the time. I wonder if some are just trying to look at this through a rose-colored prism. I say it doesn’t help our cause to revise history.
And yet despite the fact that so many seem to believe all the justifications for the war turned out to be true, more than half favor bringing home most of our troops in the next year, thereby leaving Iraq to become far more threatening to the U.S as a possible terrorist haven. Whatever you think about the war, whatever you think we should do now, we have to base these decisions on facts, not wishful thinking. It’s too important.
Dan Abrams is the host of 'The Abrams Report.' on MSNBC.