zanee: and therein lies the misunderstanding of so many people that are anti-Bush... they focus on WMDs meaning nuclear weapon capability, when in fact WMDs can mean any weapon capable of mass destruction (chemical, biological, nuclear, or ballistic missiles).
You also say that there is evidence from the intelligence community that points to the "fact" that WMDs did not exist in Iraq. I will refute you with the following:
- intelligence is never black and white. some sources may lead to the conclusion that something is true, others might lead to false. You have to analyse what is presented to you and reach a conclusion based on all pieces and the value of each piece (was this source biased? is that source really saying that it's true? or only that he believes it to be true? who/what are this source's sources? etc). You can't just point to one intelligence source and reach a conclusion (which is exactly what you are trying to do).
- Iraq collaborated with and was harboring known terrorists, some of whom lived in the al-Jazair neighborhood of Baghdad.
- There is/was only one way to find out for sure if Iraq had WMDs - invade (as you say, there have been, to my knowledge, no found WMDs of nuclear nature inside the boarders of Iraq, that we know of - but that doesn't mean they don't exist, hidden somewhere; similarly it doesn't mean that they do. But that was my previous point).
- There exists intelligence (backed also by British and Isreali intelligence sources) that there existed joint Iraq-Egyptian WMD (nuclear and ballistic missile) programs in neighboring Arab nations such as Lybia for the purpose of "plausable deniability".
- In September of 2002, Iraq is known to have moved chemical weapon components to Syria for storage.
- In 2002, Saddam moved troops into position to make a preemptive attack on Isreal (with the help from other Arab nations, the Palestinians as well as Al-Qaeda) before the United States was able to make its offensive on Iraq, knowing that the United States would have to launch their attack from Isreal. Saddam's plan was to use ballistic missiles launched at Isreali targets to cripple Isreal and America as much as he could, but, only after the planned attacks started from terrorist groups who would start the fighting. The reasoning was that he knew Isreal would have to retalliate against the terrorist attacks, thus giving him the excuse to attack Isreal back saying that he was simply coming to the aid of the Palestinians. He hoped that this would also have the effect of rallying the rest of the Arab nations behind him.
- It has been confirmed also that Iraq was preparing to provide biological weapons to the Palestinians.
Even if we remove all evidence of Iraq having (or having access to) any type of WMD, the fact that they were going to launch an offensive on Isreal is justification enough to attack Iraq, nevermind that they harbored and collaborated with terrorist organisations. Saddam was unstable - a threat to the people of Iraq and his neighbors and had been for decades, it was time this threat was eliminated for the safety of millions.
Zanee says that anyone studying the region at the time knew it was impossible for Iraq to have them. I ask, why? They had WMDs as early as the 1920's, how is it impossible for them to have had them as late as 2002? Did they suddenly become incapable of weilding anything more destructive than a caveman's club? You offer no evidence to the contrary, and in fact I can find numerous books by recognised experts on the region that make claims to the opposite.
Where's your proof?