Half the country thinks Bush fibbed on WMDs

A new poll shows that 50 percent of Americans now believe the Bush administration deliberately misled them in the march to war on Iraq.

Published April 26, 2005 7:56PM (EDT)

Before a Senate commission revealed that the Bush administration's claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was "dead wrong," the public preferred to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt. According to a Gallup poll released today, that's no longer the case: Fully 50 percent of Americans now believe the Bush administration deliberately misled them on the issue of Iraqi WMDs.

Gallup also reported that a majority of Americans, 54 percent, disapprove of the way Bush is handling the state of affairs in Iraq, while 43 percent approve of his leadership. That's a significant change from three months ago, when 50 percent approved of Bush's job performance with regard to the war.

If Americans had any further questions about the WMD threat used to justify the war, the government's Iraq Survey Group put them to rest today with an announcement that its hunt for Iraq's elusive WMDs has ended empty-handed. Last week, another Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans, 53 percent, now believe the Iraq war was "not worth it."

Will the public's growing opposition to the Iraqi occupation have an effect on the Bush administration? Probably not, according to Gallup's editor in chief Frank Newport. He commented to Editor and Publisher that "although a majority of the public began to think the Vietnam war was a mistake in the summer of 1968, the United States did not pull out of Vietnam for more than five years, after thousands of more American lives were lost."

By Julia Scott

San Francisco-based freelance journalist Julia Scott writes about water and energy issues for various publications. She also covers the environment for Bay Area News Group, a chain of newspapers in Northern California.

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