The following are in chronological order from various sources.
In 1982 under Ronald Reagan and during the Iran/Iraq war, the U.S. decided to help Iraq (and Saddam Hussein) win their war with Iran. So in the early 80's, Iraq was our friend. A few years later (late 80's), Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction on his own Kurdish people.
From 1990 to 1991, a U.S. led coalition force of 34 nations (authorized by the U.N.) took on Iraqi forces to liberate Kuwait. This was termed the Gulf War.
At the end of the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein and his elite military units were still in power and in possession of huge stockpiles of deadly weapons. In April 1991, the U.N. Security Council created UNSCOM, a special commission to find and dismantle this arsenal. The U.N. imposed economic sanctions on Iraq that would be enforced until the country eliminated all nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons capability.
Two agencies were charged with the task. UNSCOM would uncover and destroy Iraq's biological- and chemical-weapons and ballistic-missile programs; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was charged with uncovering and dismantling Iraq's clandestine nuclear program.
From 1991 to 1998 UNSCOM and IAEA carried out numerous inspections in Iraq, but with varying degrees of success.
For the first few years, Iraqi officials failed to disclose much of their special weapons programs to the inspectors. In 1995, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Kamel Hussein defected. He had been in charge of the bioweapons program and revealed to UNSCOM that there was a vast arsenal of weapons they had failed to uncover, including biological weapons, and described how the Iraqis were hiding them. This was a breakthrough for the inspection teams, and they continued their work until 1998, when Iraq blocked further access and expelled UNSCOM.
There's more here.
One to two years before President George W. Bush won the 2000 election, prominent Democrats made some harsh comments about Iraq, Saddam Hussein and his WMDs.
George W. Bush was elected President in 2000. Near the end of 2001, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri fabricated a story about Saddams WMD and relayed this story to U.S. Officials. From 2000-2003, the following comments in regards to Saddam Hussein and his WMDs were made by leading Democrats.
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18,1998.
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.
"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Joe Lieberman (D-CT), John McCain (Rino-AZ) and others, Dec. 5, 2001
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002.
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002.
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002.
"[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.
From the above article:
Santorum pointed out that during Wednesday's debate, several Senate Democrats said that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, a claim, he said, that the declassified document proves is untrue. "This is an incredibly, in my mind, significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false," he said.
With the Fox news article and the declassified report, it appears going to war with Iraq could be justified for humanitarian reasons alone, plus the fact that approximately 500 munitions were found in Iraq and some WMDs could have been moved.
Is it possible Saddam Hussein was fooled by scientists scared to death of him and the Baath Party? Did Saddam run one of military history's most successful deception operations? If he did the latter, why would he would risk the toppling of his regime, his death or capture, over non-existent WMDs? Considering everything above, one plausible explanation is that WMD stockpiles did in fact exist, but that some were hidden and/or moved to Syria.
Some have said the case for war was not that there were WMDs. Rather, they say the case for war was that Iraq was not complying with the inspections and Saddam might have had WMDs. Also, our colition force allies had a positive belief that Saddam did have WMDs. The fact that Saddam might have had them and was not complying with inspections is good enough reason for the war. Even if everybody knew Saddam had no WMDs, justifying the Iraq war for humanitarian reasons is understandable by some.
According to a 2005 Newsmax article, Moscow moved Iraqi WMD to Syria and Lebanon. From the above article:
Shaw's assertions match the information provided by U.S. military forces that satellite surveillance showed extensive large-vehicle traffic crossing the Syrian border prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.Also: 500 Tons of Uranium Yellowcake Secretly Moved From Iraq to Canada
If I didn't believe these peoples' lies back when they said them, why should I start believing them now?
Perhaps we should also believe Hill & Knowlton's lies about the Iraqi army dumping the premature babies out of incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals? (see: How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf)