Estimates in real life

The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs, begins:

“Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.”

The nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations concluded:

“(M)ost of the key judgments have since been debunked as inaccurate, false, or misleading. ”

“According to the Senate committee’s July 2004 report, analysts who wrote the NIE relied more on an assumption that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) than on an objective evaluation of the information they were reviewing. This group-think dynamic, the report states, led analysts, intelligence collectors, and managers to ‘interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD program’ and led them to ‘ignore or minimize evidence that Iraq did not have an active and expanding program.'”

A vast majority of senators did not read the whole report but only the summary or how that summary was represented by the administration.

“It’s probably pretty hard to say with 100 percent certainty how many read it,” the senior staffer said. “You can say with 100 percent certainty that it’s less than 10.” — The Hill

The unlikely became possible, the possible became probable, the probable became fact and the “facts” rallied a country to war.