To this day, the U.S. government has not come up with a credible reason why our military was ordered to invade Iraq in March 2003. One thing is certain, the invasion had nothing to do with so-called “weapons of mass destruction,” also known as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. President Bush was informed unequivocally, well in advance of the invasion, that there were no such weapons in Iraq. The claim that the Iraqis posed an immediate threat to U.S. national security has been called “one of the greatest lies in modern American political history.”
How potent a lie was it? A recent foreign policy poll (PDF) by Dartmouth government professor Benjamin Valentino and conducted by YouGov from April 26 to May 2, found that fully 63 percent of Republican respondents still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003. Even 27 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats still buy the story about the nonexistent WMDs, eight years after it was disproved.
President Bill Clinton had the best explanation of how Americans get fooled. “When people are insecure, they’d rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than someone who’s weak and right.”
Also: 55.6% of Republicans agree with the statement, “I have always believed President Obama was born in another country,” while 14.7% say they don’t know. Another 8% of Republicans say, “I used to think President Obama was born in the United States, but now I think he was born in another country.” That adds up to 78.3 percent.
The entire poll is worth reading. It asks a lot of interesting questions, such as whether we want to be the world’s number one military power (Yes), and whether we’re willing to pay more taxes to keep the United States military the strongest in the world (Not so much).
h/t Dan Froomkin, HuffPo.
UPDATE: According to the Gallup Poll, 18% of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim, 24% say Christian and 47% don’t know.