Furthermore, the mainstream media, such as CNN, failed to critically examine the rationale for going to war.
The climate of fear in the aftermath of 9/11 and the apathy and/or lack of knowledge about the Middle East among most Americans, constituted the context for the steady support for the war on Iraq inside the US.
The message was framed as following: Saddam continues to develop a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, he used chemical weapons against his own people, Iraq has something to do with 9/11, and Saddam has ties to al-Qaida.
The neocons found in the right-wing media and in pundits such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, eager allies willing to publicise and magnify the Iraqi threat.
In addition to the influential Vice President Dick Cheney, this group constituted the nucleus of the neo-conservatives, known inside the Beltway as the neocons.
Beside their advocacy of regime change in Iraq, what these unelected officials have in common is their strong association with energy and defence industries and their fervent support of Israel.According to that suggestion, the US strategy should entail “removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.” Among the signatories to this letter were Elliott Abrams, Richard L.Armitage, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and R. Nucleus of neocons Almost all of the signatories were given senior posts in the new Bush Administration or were appointed to the newly established Defence Policy Board.According to Scott Ritter, the former head of the United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq from 1991 until 1998, UNSCOM accounted for and dismantled 94 percent of Iraq's WMDs.Before the UN pulled its inspectors from Iraq, which preceded Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, a group of conservative officials and intellectuals associated with the New American Century wrote a letter to President Clinton suggesting that the policy of containing Iraq was failing and proposed a new strategy based on confrontation.When George Bush assumed office in early 2000, Saddam Hussein was little more than a nuisance for the new administration.This is mainly because he was still in power and he had succeeded in breaking the unity of the international campaign to isolate him through sanctions. While no connection has ever been uncovered between Bin Ladin and the regime of Saddam Hussein, the neocons seized the opportunity to make the hypothetical scenario of a potential connection between Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden.When that didn’t happen, Bush senior decided that the best course of action was to contain Saddam, and allow him to be strong enough to maintain order domestically, and weak enough not to threaten his neighbours.Economic sanctions and the disarmament of Iraq became the twin pillars of the new policy which would be inherited by the Clinton Administration under the new heading of "Dual Containment".The war on Iraq was planned over several years, promoted by an influential group of neo-conservatives, made possible by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and marketed by the right-wing pundits and media.From containment to change The idea of removing Saddam Hussein dates back to the second Gulf War in 1991.