Friday, August 17, 2007

More insulting Cheney comments on Iraq quagmire

On Sunday, I posted an interview that Dick Cheney gave in 1994 where he defended the decision not to invade Baghdad. He makes a really good case for not invading Iraq. If you haven't seen it, please take a moment to watch it.

After wide distribution of this video, a local CBS affiliate was able to get a, well, non-response from the VP's office.

“He was not Vice President at the time, it was after he was Secretary of Defense,” a spokesperson told CBS 5 San Francisco. “I don’t have any comment.”

But, the incredibly talented folks at Think Progress found the transcript from an interview that then-VP Nominee Dick Cheney gave on Meet the Press on August 27, 2000. Here's the relevant part, which responds to Tim Russert asking if he regrets not taking out Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War:

I don’t, Tim. It was–and it’s been talked about since then. But the fact of the matter is, the only way you could have done that would be to go to Baghdad and occupy Iraq. If we’d done that, the U.S. would have been all alone. We would not have had the support of the coalition, especially of the Arab nations that fought alongside us in Kuwait. None of them ever set foot inside Iraq. Conversations I had with leaders in the region afterwards–they all supported the decision that was made not to go to Baghdad.

They were concerned that we not get into a position where we shifted instead of being the leader of an international coalition to roll back Iraqi aggression to one in which we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world taking down governments. So I think we got it right, so suppose it’s one of those things that’ll be debated for some time. But I thought the decision was sound at the time, and I do today.

So, he held the same philosophy in 1991, 1994, and 2000, that going into Baghdad would create a disastrous situation. So, it begs the question 'what changed his mind?'. I asked the VP's Press Office the question and they referred me to an interview he did with Jonathan Karl from ABC News February 23, 2007:

Q: Back in 1991, you talked about how military action in Iraq would be the classic definition of a quagmire. Have you been disturbed to see how right you were? Or people certainly said that you were exactly on target in your analysis back in 1991 of what would happen if the U.S. tried to go in --

A: Well, I stand by what I said in '91. But look what's happened since then -- we had 9/11. We've found ourselves in a situation where what was going on in that part of the globe and the growth and development of the extremists, the al Qaeda types that are prepared to strike the United States demonstrated that we weren't safe and secure behind our own borders. We weren't in Iraq when we got hit on 9/11. But we got hit in '93 at the World Trade Center, in '96 at Khobar Towers, or '98 in the East Africa embassy bombings, 2000, the USS Cole. And of course, finally 9/11 right here at home. They continued to hit us because we didn't respond effectively, because they believed we were weak. They believed if they killed enough Americans, they could change our policy because they did on a number of occasions. That day has passed. That all ended with 9/11.

Okay, so I want to make sure I understand this correctly. He changed a decade or more of his opinion, based on the events of 9/11, even though it is clearly established that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on the U.S. Blatant hypocrisy at its worst. Hypocrisy that has cost us nearly 4,000 American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been spent on health care, education, and developing alternative fuels.

I can't believe that Bush-Cheney world is still spouting this crap. 9/11 is not a justification for war with Iraq. Period. It's insulting and a downright lie that they've been telling the American people. I think it's gross misconduct in office.


Larry said...

Keith Olbermann also showed a video from 2000, where Cheney said virtually the same thing as he did in 1994.

Anonymous said...

Well it took Pearl Harbor before we acted against Hitler. How insulting is that??

And if you don't like US going into Iraq under a UN MANDATE(15-0 vote) just wait til we go into IRAN for killing our troops in Iraq ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous #1....When will these idiots figure it out that evil is evil and unless you rid it from the face of this earth....How many Americans (1978-2001) had to die due to radical Islamic fundamentalist before something was done about it? 9/11 was the last straw. If it took over throwing a rogue dictater to fight the war in their back yard versus ours, SO BE IT!

mark said...

Anonymous 2, was "evil ... evil" in the 1980's when the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush administrations were providing dual use chemical and biological technology and satellite intelligence to Saddam? Or did he suddenly become evil when he attacked the Kuwait instead of Iran?

The fact are:

- Saddam was evil in the eighties.

- The Americans who enabled his programs of chemical weapons are evil.

- Saddam was de-clawed by Gulf War 1 and the weapons inspection process, and was not a threat even to his neighbors.

- Invading and occupying Iraq is the biggest strategic error in the history of the United States.

- G. H. W. Bush may have been evil for enabling Saddam's chemical weapons program, but at least he's not a stupid little chickenshit like his son.

Anonymous said...


A long hard slog to victory
Will never be a quagmire,
Defeat as eight-point richtery,
So don´t you get my ire.

Thus quoth the man in charge (now gone),
The words of his replacement
If not so proud as bring them on
Yet tending for effacement.

A cry went up: ´tis not defeat
If other euphemistic
Words paint the stinky smell as sweet,
So don´t you go ballistic.

The situation, let it be
(Though deemed from blog to blog dire)
Declared as realistically
No quaggy but a slogmire.


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