This is strange all these accusations about critical Democrats. Professor Lemieux has a good look into it here
. I was a very average PoliSci student, and I knew enough to express reservations about Iraqi capacities before the war.
First Question: Is military action in Iraq a necessity?
Probably not. The United States and the United Nations among others have a marked interest in ensuring Saddam Hussein's threat is kept to a minimum.
However, the Iraqi army remains severely diminished from the time of the first Gulf War. This is not a reason for invasion but rather a justification for cautious optimism. Hussein is less of a threat than he was 12 years ago.
This was from an anti-war point/counter-point piece
I wrote for a March 3, 2003 edition of the student newspaper at Utah State. Yeah, Utah. (I was even very measured in the tone of dissent because of hoping to persuade a hostile audience.) If I learned enough there to know that skepticism suggested a weak Iraq, I know the intelligence community had even larger reservations (dialed-in former CIA operatives I knew were anti-war before bombs dropped).
Only willful delusion would lead to another conclusion. Most honest pro-war people I knew would admit Iraq's weakness (in comparison to North Korea or Iran) as the reason for it falling first under the neo-con purview. So right and left knew that there was considerable hype to administration claims even in the pre-war period. You have to dismiss critical thinking altogether to conclude now otherwise.
Did some Democrats feel politically constrained to act against their better judgment in supporting the resolution? Yes, but their weakness was shielded by the many expressed caveats to support (UN, found WMD). Caveats, that atrios
has shown Bush accepting in speeches before he dismantled the entire body of precedent in war-making in US foreign policy.
Arguing bad faith for these people is the height of hypocrisy. Privileging politics over policy leads inexorably into these tangles with bad faith. Both sides have done it, of course, but in no sense has that been equivalent which is why, I imagine, Democrats are coming out better and better in opinion polls.