The United States never found the weapons of mass destruction that the Bush administration repeatedly claimed were in Iraq.
The New York Times reported in 2014 that U.S. troops did find remnants of chemical weapons that Iraq had created, with help from the U.S., from the 1980s when the U.S. sided with Iraq during its war against Iran:
All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them.
In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.
However, a Farleigh Dickinson University poll released today found that 51% of Republicans believe that the U.S. “probably” or “definitely” found weapons of mass destruction after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The study also said that 42% of all Americans believe that the U.S. found weapons of mass destruction.
“People who think we did the right thing in invading Iraq seem to be revising their memories to retroactively justify the invasion,” said Dan Cassino, a political science professor and the director of experimental research for the poll. “This sort of motivated reasoning is pretty common: when people want to believe something, they’ll twist the facts to fit it.”
In addition to the wrongful belief about Iraq, 19% percent of Americans say that it’s “definitely” or “probably” true that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen. About a third (34%) of Republicans believe this debunked conspiracy theory.
Sources: Farleigh Dickinson University, The New York Times, MediaMatters.org
Image Credit: PD-USGOV-POTUS