Nat, someone observed many years ago that people tend to seek out information and opinions that coincide with their own -- that serve to validate what they already believe. This is why Conservatives are the ones to listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, while Liberals listen to NPR radio and watch Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow. I think that is what is occurring in our debate: You and I both selectively attend to information and opinions that validate what we prefer to believe, and then we fill-in with our own interpretations whatever the "facts" don't support. I will admit doing this . . will you?
As for your rebuttals:
1. Do politicians consider what the public will think when making decisions?
. . . Of course they do!- They know if they buck popular sentiment they will be out of a job in the next election.
Oh, really? Why does it seem to me that an aweful lot of pols vote in ways not in accordance with their electorate's wishes? Immigration, for example: The great majority of people in Congress are weak on opposing illegal immigration and enforcing our existing laws in that regard. Yet, when polled, a sizeable majority of Americans want illegal immigration stopped and only those here legally to remain. As I've said, the pols have their own agenda, and that includes trying to promote disagreements among citizens even on those things which there is generally great agreement.
2. British intelligence had the same phony reports from the same guy. The fact that every one is drinking the same bad tea doesn't make it good tea.
And, if Iraq was "Daddy's war" for Bush, or a US lust for Iraqi oil, why did the British leadership feel the need to pursue a "war they knew was unwise and unnecessary"? Where was their dog in that fight?
3. Had it not been for Bush's intervention the CIA expected Saddam would have been soon overthrown anyway. He was widely hated and in constant fear of a revolt- even from his own military. This would have been an even better example for the Iranian people to follow.
This is wild speculation. Saddam was ruthless toward all opposition (remember the Kurds?) The ruling minority Sunnis had to stick together to keep control over the larger Shiite population, so any disagreements at the top would, in my view, have been put on the back-burner to the over-riding concern with maintaining power. Remember "Desert Storm"? There were factions within Iraq back in the early '90's that did rise up against Saddam then, but they were quickly defeated and executed due to the lack of U.S. military involvement (Bush Sr's decision not to be content to have liberated Kuwait and to not proceed to taking Iraq -- the latter being General Scwartzkoft's stated preference). The same would have happened now -- had the U.S. not invaded Iraq, Saddam would have maintained his grip on power. Anyone who dared oppose him would be killed. So, I disagree with your take on this.