WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- A Pentagon official said Tuesday the rationale for going to war with Iraq wasn't its alleged stockpiles of weapons, but the nature of Saddam Hussein's regime.
"I think no one can properly assert that the failure so far to find Iraqi WMD stockpiles undermines the reasons for the war," said Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith in a speech in Washington.
"The strategic rationale for the war didn't actually hinge on classified information concerning chemical and biological stockpiles; rather, it depended on assessments about the nature of the Saddam Hussein regime and its activities. The relevant facts were available to the public," Feith said.
A Harris poll conducted April 8-15 indicates 51 percent of those polled believe the Bush Administration misled them about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida. About 40 percent believe the claims were accurate.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell outlined Saddam's alleged nuclear, chemical and biological weapons activities to the United Nations in an attempt to gain broader support for the war.
President George W. Bush used his 2003 State of the Union speech to highlight the threat, including a disputed claim Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger.