54% of Americans believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, according to a recent poll

August 21, 2004

Evidence of such weapons has not been found and a growing number of arms inspectors continue to criticise pre-war intelligence claims.<

On 9 July this year, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a blistering report on the investigation into pre-war claims of Iraqs capacity to wage war against its neighbours and develop weapons of mass destruction.

The report stated that the intelligence used to justify the war on Iraq was inaccurate, unsubstantiated, unwarranted, out-of-date, negligently analysed and misrepresented, thereby exhibiting "a broken corporate culture and poor management".

Despite the report, the poll indicated that 35% of respondents believe Iraq was either closely linked with al-Qaida before the war or was directly involved in the 11 September 2001, attacks on the Unites States (15%). 

The poll which was released on Friday by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found the numbers on both questions have dropped in the face of evidence that both pre-war claims may have been false. 

President George Bush consistently equates the "war on terrorism" with the war in Iraq, but has now replaced his claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction with claims that Iraq had the "capability" of building such weapons. 

False assumptions

Seven in 10 in the poll say they believe the US went to war in Iraq based on false assumptions. A similar number say the war in Iraq has worsened America's image in the world. 

A majority, 55%, say they don't think the war in Iraq will result in greater peace and stability in the Mideast. In various polls, people have been evenly split on whether the war in Iraq was the right or wrong thing to do - a sharp drop from last winter. 

The poll of 733 adults was conducted by Knowledge Networks from 5-11 August and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5% points.