Sunday, August 06, 2006

Half of Americans believe Iraq had WMDs

The Right Wing Noise Machine is working.

The number of Americans who believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when we invaded Iraq is increasing. Fully half of those surveyed recently believe Iraq had WMDs. That's a 14 percent increase from last year.

Right wing talk radio, conservative bloggers, FOX "News" and, of course, the Bush administration, have succeeded dragging one-half of Americans into their delusion.

People tend to become "independent of reality" in these circumstances, says opinion analyst Steven Kull.

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.

Despite this, a Harris Poll released July 21 found that a full 50 percent of U.S. respondents — up from 36 percent last year — said they believe Iraq did have the forbidden arms when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, an attack whose stated purpose was elimination of supposed WMD. Other polls also have found an enduring American faith in the WMD story.

"I'm flabbergasted," said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration's shaky WMD claims in 2002-03.

"This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence," Massing said.
Read the whole piece from the AP. Its indictment of FOX "News" is devastating.