Firstly, Saddam Hussein's government was given every reason not to cooperate, particularly after the US made it clear that sanctions would not be lifted as long as Saddam remained in power.
Second, even with the lack of full Iraqi compliance, the UN achieved remarkable results.
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.
Advocates of war in the US administration claimed that Iraq had continued to develop WMDs, and with Saddam Hussein capable of making them available to organisations such as al-Qaida, it put the US at imminent risk.
However, a closer analysis of US behaviour, as well as the thinking of the pro-war camp inside the Bush administration, reveals that the justifications were convenient excuses for mobilising US public opinion.According to the National Security Strategy published in September 2002, the US should strike against hostile states and terrorist groups, acting “against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.” Selling the war The next step was to market the war on Iraq.The Bush administration needed a message and a messenger.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.Such a scenario was based on two erroneous assumptions: One is that Iraq had massive quantities of chemical and biological weapons, and the other that Saddam would be willing to supply such weapons to al-Qaida in the fight against a common enemy.After the events of 11 September 2001 the change of focus onto Iraq was a natural progression for the neocons.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.The military campaign to invade Iraq lost some momentum when President Bush acceded to Collin Powell and Tony Blair’s request to seek UN support against Iraq.The neocons went along with the proposal counting on Saddam’s intransigence and stupidity, to provide the necessary justification for the US to pursue the military option.