Cheney’s Iraq War Rationalizations

Dick Cheney appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News the other day and was asked to justify the Iraq war. After well over a million dollars spent, hundreds of thousands dead and millions of refugees created, what did we actually get out of it? His answer shows just how irrational we can be when justifying out choices.

O’REiLLY: But what — right now, what do we — what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?

CHENEY: What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.

Wrong on every point. First, we know that Hussein did not have WMDs, nor did he have the capability of producing them with the sanctions on. Second, Al Qaeda did not exist in Iraq before the invasion, but they certainly do now. Al Qaeda viewed Hussein as their enemy, condemning him for his socialism and his apostasy. We took out their enemy and gave them an entry into a country they coveted. We’ve made is more likely that they get their hands on WMD, not less.

16 comments on this post.
  1. eric:

    After well over a million dollars spent…

    I think you mean trillion. Or maybe you’re giving a subtle nod to Austin Powers. :)

  2. Teve Tory:

    O’REiLLY: But what — right now, what do we — what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?
    CHENEY: Well, Bill, I made some really shitty decisions. Hundreds of thousands of Innocent people died. But they’re foreigners, so who cares. And I’m a war criminal, and wrecked the reputation of the USA. But I’m rich and white and I only listen to fox news so I’m pretty awesome, and I sleep well at night.

  3. blf:

    A Dynasty to Duck:

    One of the best things about the 2008 race was ushering out the incalculably destructive Dick Cheney. Except now, in 2013, he’s once more ominously omnipresent. Even blessed with the gift of a stranger’s heart, and looking so much healthier, he’s still the same nasty bully.

    He’s trying to bully [Mike] Enzi ["the conservative senator from Wyoming who’s trying to fend off a carpetbagger challenge from Liz Cheney"] in an attempt to help his daughter — who has never held elected office — muscle her way into the Senate by knocking off the popular three-term incumbent Republican.

    Showing that bullying runs in the family, Lynne Cheney told old friend and former Republican Wyoming senator Alan Simpson to “shut up” in an exchange tied to the contentious campaign, in which Simpson is supporting Enzi.

    This is one dynasty we want to duck.

    “Obstructing President Obama’s policies and his agenda isn’t actually obstruction; it’s patriotism,” Liz said.

    Dick Cheney’s chutzpah extends to charging the Obama administration with “incompetence” in the Middle East and saying that the president has done “enormous damage” to America’s standing around the world.

    And, of course, he disdains Obamacare, telling Rush Limbaugh that it’s “devastating” — begrudging less well-off and well-connected Americans the lifesaving and costly health care he got on us when he was in the White House.

    … Cheney belittled his daughter’s opponent, saying he had never been his fishing buddy and noting that Liz garnered 25 percent of her funds from Wyoming while Enzi only got 13 percent of his from the state. In sparsely populated Wyoming, it’s not easy to raise money. And Liz has gotten a lot of help from daddy’s rich friends.

  4. Larry:

    Well, it did provide a large collection of dead young bodies whose organs can be systematically harvested and then frozen to be later surgically installed into Cheney in order to keep him alive for another 500 years.

  5. Reginald Selkirk:

    Dick Cheney: Obama Lost Some Opportunities With His Handling Of Osama Bin Laden Raid

    If former Vice President Dick Cheney was at the helm when Osama bin Laden was killed, some things would have been done differently…

    To turn this around, why wasn’t bin Laden killed while Cheney was at teh helm? Talk about lost opportunities.

  6. busterggi:

    I understand there are millions of armed orcs in Canada just shivering with fear for when the next Republican POTUS is elected as he (and it will be a he) will invade pre-emptively.

  7. frankb:

    #6 Yeah, the Canadian Rocky’s are teeming with orcs and Banff is the last homely house east of the sea. That would put Mordor somewhere around Kentucky.

  8. Francisco Bacopa:

    Mountaintop removal coal mining has certainly made parts of Kentucky resemble Mordor.

  9. justsomeguy:

    “What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.”

    You can practically see the little gears in his head turning. He apparently wasn’t expecting that kind of question, so he waffled around for a bit about the “what we gain and my concern was then and it remains today” before kicking into autopilot on the obvious memorized talking point.

  10. Pierce R. Butler:

    … what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure?

    A narrow, naïve, and jingoistic question – but pretty good, by O’Reilly standards.

  11. haitied:

    @10: Yeah I was shocked, He really was flirting with a decent question. But Cheney is the kind of guy who shoots his buddy and blames him for it. I remember in my own naivety questioning war hungry people post 9/11 who claimed “We’re going to war man” with “Who are we going to war with? We were attacked by people with no affiliation to a country, One needs to declare war on a country after all. . .” And my shock with Iraq being the target. As shitty as Saddam was he was an obstacle in the region not only to Islamic extremists but to Iran as well. Now Iraq and Iran are much closer than they were and sectarian violence is a growing issue as well. I really wish we’d have brought formal charges against the Bush administration, We have the evidence that they fabricated the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda and willfully pushed those lies to justify an assault on a foreign power. I think Asimov had it almost right when he said “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” because sometimes it’s the first refuge they seek…

  12. Michael Heath:

    Bill O’Reilly asks Dick Cheney:

    … what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure?

    Pierce R. Butler:

    A narrow, naïve, and jingoistic question – but pretty good, by O’Reilly standards.

    I presume your assuming that Bill O’Reilly’s context is that of U.S. interests only. From that perspective you have an arguable point and knowing Bill O’Reilly, that’s almost assuredly his defective perspective.

    However I think the ‘blood and treasure’ question is an excellent one if the framework is humanity in general which is my framework when asking this question and analyzing the results. I think the ‘tresure’ part of the question also holds-up when considering only the protagonist country’s interests. From humanity’s perspective, the cost in both blood and treasure had the U.S. failing spectacularly.

    If we narrow that down to the U.S. interests we still failed spectacularly in terms of treasure. I think we also failed from the perspective of blood though I also think the jury’s still out in terms of this conclusion being convincing v. the merely compelling point I find it to be now. Recent news out of Iraq this week advances the conclusion closer to the convincing.

    From the perspective of conservative Christians, the 25% or so percent of the U.S. population that Bill O’Reilly represents, they also can’t credibly defend this boondoggle from a ‘treasure’ perspective.

    I don’t find this population has the moral authority to even make an argument in regards to the cost/benefit from the perspective of the cost in ‘blood’. I don’t observe this population even worrying about the cost in blood of the Iraq War, which is an example of how they have no moral authority when it come to the question of when to go to war or not; and analyzing the results during and after a war.

  13. pacal:

    Certainly O’Reilly seems to be per usual missing out on the Iraqi perspective. But then from his point of view the only interests that “really” count are US interests.

    As for Iraq the last 30+ years have seen them have the curses of being ruled by Saddam Hussein, with the pot porrui of gruesome human rights abuses that that entailed. The horrible, and bloody Iran / Iraq war brought to both countries by Saddam Hussein’s idiot ambitions. Then the Gulf War of 1991, brought to us by Saddam Hussein’s blinkered ambitions. The savage insurgency that followed and was brutally crushed by Saddam Hussein. Then the sanctions regime which did untold damage to Iraq and much suffering to the population. Then the Second Gulf War of 2003. Then the insurgency, brought to us by American mistakes in post war planning. (There wasn’t really much, except delusion). Which brought the horror of insurgency and counter insurgency to Iraq. Now Iraq is continuing to fragment into 3 ethnic / religious sections. During all this from 1978 o9n to today at least 1 million Iraqi have died premature deaths due to all of the above, a couple of million are internal and external refugees. Considering Saddam Hussein’s pivotal role in generating much of the above his removal in 2003 was certainly a positive thing. That doesn’t excuse the shoddy way the war was justified and neither does it excuse the terrible aftermath of his overthrow.

    Compared to that the US losses in blood, treasure and lives just don’t compare.

  14. Michael Heath:

    pacal writes:

    Compared to that the US losses in blood, treasure and lives just don’t compare.

    Certainly we should consider the implications to Iraq and not just the U.S., but we also need to consider the implications for the region and globally. For example, the CIA’s relevant experts were against the U.S. invading because they predicted prior to the war it would attract al Qaeda to Iraq and increase Iran’s power in the region. Both predictions became true. Al Qaeda’s entry into Iraq was a self-fulfilling prediction given that al Qaeda recruits’ primary motivation to enter Iraq was the U.S.’s administration of torture in Iraq and to a lesser degree, Afghanistan.

    pacal writes:Now Iraq is continuing to fragment into 3 ethnic / religious sections.

    Without Hussein’s reign of terror, this may be the best scenario where all scenarios are bad for at least the intermediate-term. That’s given the fact that people in this region are predominately tribalists in terms of both religion and ethnicity, with no powerful sub-population promoting liberalism given that liberalism is by definition secular and based on principles rather than factionalism.

  15. bushrat:

    It saddens and infuriates me to no end that some younger and most likely far better person went without a heart replacement so that this evil, old, fucking scumbag could live another 5 or 10 years.

  16. atheist:

    @pacal – November 1, 2013 at 10:02 am (UTC -4)

    And don’t forget the fact that their land is now radioactive from the depleted uranium munitions used by the US.

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