Kaus has a good point about the idea that “Saddam only wanted us to think he had WMD,” and one that’s closely related to the point about credibility I made below:
If a man says he has a gun, acts like he has a gun, and convinces everyone around him he has a gun, and starts waving it around and behaving recklessly, the police are justified in shooting him (even if it turns out later he just had a black bar of soap). Similarly, according to the Duelfer report, Saddam seems to have intentionally convinced other countries, and his own generals, that he had WMDs. He also convinced much of the U.S. government. If we reacted accordingly and he turns out not to have had WMDs, whose fault is that?
Of course, if the cops shoot him, the next guy will think twice about claiming to have a gun, now won’t he?