Shawn Otto, author of the recent book, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, left an interesting comment at the thread of my recent Yale Forum post:
The reason the [climate] skeptics have any power at all is not because what they say is credible, because based on the facts it is not, but because policymakers don't want to have to do anything and the skeptics supply an excuse for inaction. In the case of Iraq, for example, the policymaker motivation (and public sentiment) was in the opposite direction: the direction of action. Thus, the inverse equivalent of a climate skeptic, the gadfly Ahmed Chalabi, though apparently equally without data-driven evidence, was equally listened to because he provided an excuse for action.
Actually, it was Curveball that provided some of that key false intel, in addition to Chalabi, who served as a convenient vessel for neocons, and whose story is a more complicated, fascinating one than commonly known. But that doesn't take away from Otto's larger point.