When we were told Iraq was going to nuke us, or send Drones of Death across the Atlantic, I knew it was nonsense, for two reasons, the first often talked about, the second, almost never.
The first reason is that Iraq (which no longer exists) had an economy that is one percent of the U.S.'s. That's smaller than the economy of South Carolina. The country had a total yearly governmental budget of about one billion. They didn't have enough money to build "Weapons of Mass Destruction," unless you want to count some nerve gas, which has been around since World War I. It's not that potent for mass killing, anyway, and certainly isn't going to be lobbed thousands of miles across the ocean into the U.S.
The second reason, which you'll almost never hear talked about, is that in their book, IQ and the Wealth of Nations, Richard Lyon and Tatu Vanhanen estimated that the mean average IQ in Iraq is 87. An IQ of 85, before these days of Political Correctness, was on the border of "dull normal" and what used to be called "moron," which was someone with an IQ of less than 85. Muhammed Ali, who had an IQ of 78, was called a "moron" by his best friends, and he admitted he could barely read and write.
Since IQs are distributed along a bell curve, it means half the people there have IQs of less than 87. It's not Lake Wobegone, where all the kids are above average.
That bell curve means on the far right side of there are a vanishing small group of people who have the ability to be engineers and physicists. They didn't even have enough tool-and-tie makers and machinists. And a country like this -- mostly sand -- was supposed to be the next Nazi Germany, only with nuclear weapons? And if we didn't "fight them over there, we'd have to fight them here"? No, I don't think so, especially since the U.S. had been blockading the country for ten years before we attacked them for the second time, impoverishing it even more, and spreading DU (depleted uranium) all over the place, permanently sickening many people and causing many deformed babies to be born.
Did our intelligence services take this poverty and lack of intelligence and education into account? No, of course not; it means thinking outside the box and being Politically Incorrect. So, because of this failure, we lost several thousand Americans and had tens of thousands wounded, some permanently, for an unnecessary war. And we have wasted billions upon billions of dollars. And only God knows how many Iraqis the U.S. has killed or permanently wounded.
The physicist Gregory Cochran has said, "I certainly knew that there was no theat. I knew for sure that they had no nuclear program, when 'nuclear program' is defined as actually doing anything -- breeding plutonium, separating isotopes, or building the required facilities."
Was Cochran listened to? Of course not. Politics trumps the truth.
Iraq was small, dirt-poor, and the people were 60% illiterate. The latter fact is something you never heard about in the mainstream press, just like you'll never hear about how the mean average IQ of 87. Or that the real GDP per capita of Iraq was $3,197, as compared to $28,605 for the United States.
It was Aristotle who first pointed out that to be a successful democracy, one necessary thing for a country is to have a large, solid middle class. When you have a country with a mean average IQ of 87, the people will never have a first-class economy and therefore will never develop a large middle class -- that's why Lyon's and Vanhanen's book is about the relationship of IQ and a nation's wealth.
Iraq , since it would never have a large, stable middle class, will never have a democracy, even if the attempt is made to impose it by force. So the U.S. is wasting time, money, lives and material, for a hopeless cause.
What will happen over there is the long run is that, sooner or later, another "strong man," another dictator like Saddam Hussein, will take over. And the place will be pretty much end up just as it was before we invaded it. That's the way it's been over there for the last few thousand years. Why should it be any different in the next few thousand?