Why have we not yet seen such a headline in the media? For although it may be ludicrous, this is now the principal argument for retrospective opposition to the liberation of Iraq.
This opposition centres on trying to uncover a high-level conspiracy to alter intelligence reports to make them seem more significant. In other words they think that somebody may have got their secretary to do a find-and-replace of “may have weapons” to “does have weapons”.
Yet it is not in dispute that Saddam Hussein was/is a big fan of weapons of mass destruction: he has not only owned them in the past but has used them on his enemies both domestic and foreign. The evidence provided by the mobile bio-weapons laboratories found scrubbed clean is that he was still committed to retaining this capability until just before the end (unless you wish to believe that caustic cleaning fluid was only used to cover up the embarrassing smell of Iraqi conscripts’ underwear).
These mobile laboratories were mentioned by Colin Powell in his UN Presentation. Iraq denied their existence, and at the time, we could not be sure that that was a lie. Nor could we be sure that any other weapons of mass destruction existed there either, but we had good reasons to believe that they did. And the main reason why we couldn't be sure was that Saddam insisted on obfuscating the investigation of the UN inspectors. Not the actions of an innocent government.
But why did we think it so urgent and important to invade Iraq on the basis that they probably had WMD and that they might use them to harm or threaten us? After all, North Korea had already started telling anyone who would listen about their intentions to use WMD on everybody in sight, so they definitely have them. (Or do they? Isn't it perfectly conceivable that they are lying too? Should we act on the assumption that they are?)
The fact of the matter is, the Middle East is a large and unstable area which is important to us for various reasons but keeps telling us in words and deeds that it hates us and wishes we were all dead. It would be a great thing for the world, and for the region itself, if it were to become peaceful and start putting its impressive resources into manufacturing cheap cars and electronic goods instead of various types of nasty weapon that serve no purpose other than slaughtering their civilian populations and ours. Yet history tells us that it is very rare for entrenched psychotic societies suddenly to become friendly and start manufacturing cheap and/or high quality consumer goods without the saultory intervention of us, reforming their system of government by force or the credible threat of force.
Here's where the spin part comes in. In the light of the above, our government(s) decide to liberate Iraq. And they decide that given the nature of the opposition to this proposed liberation, they will emphasise the perfectly real and imminent threat of horrific death on our part, which everyone can understand and be afraid of, and de-emphasise the closely related and equally real ‘making the world a better, safer place’ aspect that sadly doesn't wash with significant sections of the modern trendy-lefty isolationist cheese-eating population. It must be the greatest deception in modern history, we don't think.
What if we never prove that there were/are WMD in Iraq? Well, while we are on the subject of ‘what-ifs’: what if we never prove that there was a high-level conspiracy to change intelligence reports? Will people stop believing there was one?
Don't forget that today's trendy theory (that the Government over-emphasised WMD in order to enable them to make the world a better, safer place) is not what the opponents said was happening at the time. What they said was that Bush, an infamous American oil baron (and President, but that was neither here nor there) had got his buddy/lapdog Tony to help him steal Iraq's oil. Surely nobody who was even slightly informed and/or sane could have believed that, so why haven't any opponents of the war stood up and given the real reason why they thought the war was happening – until now? Maybe because the truth – that the Government was trying to make the world a better, safer place – is not a terribly compelling anti-war argument, any more than it is a compelling pro-war one. Especially now that the war has been overwhelmingly successful by any reasonable criterion. So why haven't we seen the aforementioned headline? Perhaps a better question would be: why haven't we seen the headline “Shock, Horror! Opponents Put Spin on Government Policy” instead?