by Doctor Science
Daniel Drezner reported at Foreign Policy on a recent poll conducted by Dartmouth political scientist Benjamin Valentino that found, among other points, that 63% of Republicans believe that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction at the time of the US invasion in 2003. This is approximately the same percentage who believe that President Obama was born in a foreign country.
What these beliefs have in common is that they are both untrue. To believe such things is to believe lies.
It's also kind of staggering that Republicans assert these things *equally*, even though the idea that Obama was not born in Hawai'i is a patently ludicrous paranoid delusion, while the idea that Iraq might have had WMDs is complex and arguable.
Since I really would rather not believe that such a significant part of the US population is out-and-out delusional, I assume that for most Republicans "Obama isn't really American" and "Iraq had WMD" are tribal markers more than statements of fact -- whether they're actually true isn't important, what matters is showing what tribe you're in and how loyal you are.
What I wonder is whether US flag officers, who are more likely to be Republican than either enlisted or the population at large, are also buying in to "Iraq had WMD". For them this isn't an abstract issue, it relates directly to their error of so-called expertise. I say "so-called" because the run-up from September 11 to Iraq convinced me that the officer corps is neither braver nor more knowledgeable than I am, when it comes to basic issues of war and peace.