Even as we lambast Hillary for saying it, I think every one of us was more convinced about WMD and the threat of Saddam, five years ago than we are now.
I agree, we were more convinced. Even I was more convinced regarding chemical and biological weapons, which I thought were not sufficient reasons for going to war at the time since conventional weapons were just as if not more destructive and easier to build and deploy. I thought the only real threat was nuclear weapons (not because Saddam might use one against us but because he might tell the Saudis "give me your oilfields or I will nuke them"), and I thought the evidence on that was thin; moreover, Saddam wasn't going to do anything while UN inspectors were there, so there still was no need to authorize force at that time.
(Hillary essentially made very good arguments about why force was not needed at the time of her vote and then voted yes anyway. That's why I'm upset with her position. She explicitly said she thought unilateral action would be a bad idea, but trusted the administration try to get a strong UN resolution to bring more allies with us. But that requirement was not in the use of force resolution; the resolution gave W a blank check, and as a lawyer she must have or should have known that if you don't get the language in the contract, you don't have the deal. Yes, it would have difficult to vote no given the popular sentiment at the time. But that's what leaders are supposed to do in times of national crisis. I think she knew better, but she opted for easy political cover for her next election. Her Senate floor remarks are here
, so folks can determine for yourself if her statements at the time justified her vote.)
I agree we should be wary of the Bush PR machine. But after the debacle of the past four years do we really think that the public will be fooled as easily as we were with Iraq? Many people are far more skeptical now. I think cries of Must Go After The Bad Guys are going to have to be backed up with evidence before there's majority public or congressional support this time around. Plus no matter what the PR machine does, we simply don't have anywhere near the number of troops to go into Iran. You can't invade with people that don't exist.
Bombing would be doable in a way that invasion and occupation are not. But it wouldn't accomplish anything except make things worse. What would the targets be? The nuclear facilities are underground and hard to hit. An attack would alienate the Iranian public which is far less antagonistic to us than their government is. There's no one suggesting they're about to build a nuclear bomb.
So I just don't see the public supporting any use of force against Iran in the next two years unless Iraq does something like bomb Tel Aviv. And if they're dumb or extremist enough to do something like that, there will be lots of countries willing to do something about it, and the Bush PR machine won't be needed to fool us into anything.