August 20, 2007

Dick Cheney’s a prophet

Posted in Iraq at 2:54 pm by The Lizard Queen

I suspect that many, if not most, of my readers have seen the clip that’s been floating around the tubez of Dick Cheney explaining, in a 1994 interview, why coalition forces didn’t push on to Baghdad from Kuwait during the first Gulf War. Just in case you missed it, though, here’s the clip:

Choice quotes:

  • “. . . if we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone, there wouldn‘t have been anyone else with it, it would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein‘s government then what are you going to put in place?”
  • “It’s a quagmire . . .”
  • “. . . how many additional dead Americans was Saddam worth? Our judgment was not very many and I think we got it right.”

I find it unsettling how accurate that assessment was, down to the use of the word “quagmire.” Still, that interview happened nine years before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, so one might charitably argue that enough changed over the course of those nine years to convince Cheney that overthrowing Saddam Hussein had become worth it.

However, on Friday Countdown showed a clip of an MSNBC interview with Cheney in 2000, in which his stance on invading Iraq didn’t seem to have changed. I can’t post the video (don’t know how Crooks and Liars does it), but here’s what he said (from the show’s transcript):

CHENEY: Instead of being the leader of international coalition that came and reversed aggression and risk toward civil order, if you will in that part of the world, we shift and become the imperial power coming in from willy-nilly occupying national capitals, taking down governments we disagree with that we don’t like.

So, in short, Cheney knew exactly what we were getting into when we invaded Iraq. He could have predicted (and, essentially, did predict) how poorly it would go. I have a very hard time believing that he was so convinced by reports of WMDs and/or human rights violations that he thought the pros of invading outweighed the cons. So, why are we there, again? I mean, I realize that Cheney isn’t (technically) the final decision-maker in the executive branch, but… well, you know where I’m headed. I tend to want to give the right-wing warmongers the benefit of the doubt in the sense that they believe their own information and rhetoric. This makes it clear that, at least in the upper echelons, that isn’t the case.

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1 Comment »

  1. DavidD said,

    My first three thoughts about this were attempts at humor, but they weren’t that funny.

    It is strange that with what various people knew about the dangers, from Dick Cheney to the generals to whomever else, there was no exit strategy to this war except blind hope and however much anyone believed that propaganda about bringing democracy to Iraq. Sometimes nations feel compelled to fight without being sure what to do if they win – the lack of such vision by the US in World War II being what Winston Churchill said was the reason Soviet Union wound up with the eastern half of Europe, albeit temporarily as history would have it, yet in any buildup to war that lasts more than a few hours, the subject of what comes after the war must come up. I know I’ve heard something of the documentation of that this time watching Frontline, but I haven’t studied it to try to understand more than saying it doesn’t make sense, that someone was being irrational or at least short-sighted.

    Sometimes people make decisions by ignoring any fact they don’t like, even by changing facts so they’ll like them better. Even now it’s controversial who exactly did that in Vietnam. There are always a lot of good reasons to explain why, “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” but it’s hard to get to them until apologists are past accusing their opponents of stabbing the nation in the back and opponents are past saying that the mistakes of the war’s proponents were so nefarious as to make them the bad guys, pure and simple.

    How much of what is false is a lie and how much is delusion? It varies, but either way someone could use a better commitment to reality. How much of a half-truth is false? It’s not actually something that’s quantifiable. A half-truth might be entirely false, the truth in it being fully neutralized by what’s false in it. Another half-truth might have a lot of truth in it despite not being entirely true. It really takes a lot of work and commitment to reality to sort through individual examples of such things. I don’t see that in politics. Politicians would rather tell stories they like to tell and enough people like to hear.


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