Cheney was on our side!


So what happened? Brain death? Drugs? Just plain evil?

Comments

  1. Dustin says

    It’s as though he understood the political tensions in the middle east, and then forgot about them. Did he lose the sticky note he wrote it down on, or something? The one he was reading from in this interview when he said the word “quagmire”?

    Maybe he had a change of heart later. And I mean that he must literally have had a change of heart — as in a new one, because he’d be dead without it. In the figurative sense, I think the change of heart went something like: “Gawrsh. A quagmire’s like a swarmpy areee-er. Ain’t no swarmpy areee-ers in Iraq”.

  2. Gl says

    Dustin wrote (#2):

    Maybe he had a change of heart later.

    Maybe he had a change of financial interest later. At the time, maybe Halliburton was hurting because of the sanctions, under which they couldn’t do business with Iraq.

  3. says

    So what happened? Brain death? Drugs? Just plain evil?

    I vote for evil.

    Unfortunately, so did too many other people in 2000 and 2004.

  4. Ken Mareld says

    Glenn in post #4 about has it. Cheney and his neocon friends were chomping a the bit to go after Iraq long before 9/11.

    Ken

  5. Maronan says

    I vote for doublethink. As a member of the Inner Party Executive Branch his own branch of government, Cheney is capable of recognizing that the war is impossible to win, and still able to push and advocate that we stay until the war is won, with all the zeal of a crusader who honestly believes in his cause.

    Of course, when he said that, Clinton was in office, so he had to “remember” that the war couldn’t be won; that was the opinion expected of him by the Party.

  6. truth machine says

    Cheney is all about rationalization of his actions, whatever they are. There’s no good reason to think that he believed a word he was saying at the time, and several to think he didn’t — verbal hesitations, looking away from the camera, shifty eyes and mouth — although it seems he may have been that way from birth.

    But the bottom line is that, given the axiom “Dick Cheney’s policy preferences are always correct”, he’s been perfectly consistent.

  7. Ian says

    No, no, no. How many times do they have to tell you. “9/11 changed everything.” After 9/11, Iraq was no longer made up of three opposing factions and Iraqi civilians suddenly decided Saddam was bad enough that they would shower any foreign occupi^H^H^H^H^H^H liberators with flowers and candy. It was understandable to be pessimistic about an Iraqi occupation before 9/11, but after 9/11, it should have worked. The fact that the results seem to match what was predicted before 9/11 is pure coincidence.

  8. says

    As they age, some guys get nicer, others meaner. While ideological shifts and the general cheapening of American political life probably played a role, the main thing is that Cheney is aging badly.

  9. pough says

    There’s a simpler explanation: politics. No matter what’s happened, if it’s your team that did it, it was the right thing to do. Did he, personally, like the decision to not take that war further? Whether he did or not, he was certainly going to stick to the party line about the decision.

  10. Loc says

    My guess is that Cheney did not feel this way. He was doing “damage control” for Bush Sr. He has always been part of the neocon movement, just look at the Project for a New American Century letter they drafted less than two years following those remarks. They had been planning an invasion of Iraq long before 9/11.

  11. trj says

    Could it be that politicians shape their public statements to acommodate their own current agenda?

    Surely not?

  12. Kseniya says

    Whether he did or not, he was certainly going to stick to the party line about the decision.

    Exactly; he’s echoing what Bush Sr. and various Pentagon officials had already said about the decision. The huge advantage they had back then, as opposed to now, was in being correct.

  13. Kseniya says

    Loc – true enough, but the policy shift may not have been fully formulated or adopted by ’94, despite the relatively short time between this interview and the publishing of the PNAC letter.

    I think Cheney did believe it, because it was true.

    The dishonesty came later, when lies and distortions were used to justify an invasion that would surely be a piece of cake (it was) and a subsequent occupation that was deemed necessary and through which we would just have to suffer, regardless of how ill-advised, poorly-planned and executed it would inevitably turn out to be.

  14. Kseniya says

    Actually, – the PNAC letter was 3-4 years after that interview. And Cheney isn’t one of the signers, either. FWIW.

    Also, a policy of “regime change” does not necessarily equate to an inevitable invasion and occupation, although the PNAC letter does stress a military solution as the most likely necessary option, just as it stresses the threat of WMD as the most pressing concern.

    Of course, four years later, the neocons, feeling empowered by having their guy in the White House and running out of patience, used the equity of 9/11 to underwrite the military deposition of Hussein…

  15. says

    What happened was he and Bush came to power. Granted, one can argue that circumstances (namely, 9/11) happened, but this is further support for why we shouldn’t have arbitrarily invaded Iraq when it didn’t have a darned thing to do with 9/11.

    Secondly, it’s politics. It’s only bad if a Democrat’s in office. And really it’s no different when a Democrat is on the outside looking in. We’ve seen that in comments from Hilary and, in some instances, even Obama.

  16. says

    I’d go with evil.

    Or if that is too generic, a complete inability for compassion, conscience, and anything other than serving his own ego, cruelty, and corporate interests.

    Or, evil, which I think is more succinct.

  17. Kseniya says

    Heh… I just had a thought (a rare thing, I know).

    1991: Desert Storm ends – without a march on Baghdad.

    1994: Cheney talks quagmire.

    1998: PNAC urges Clinton to depose Saddam, militarily if necessary.

    What a setup! If Clinton had initiated an invasion of Iraq in ’98 or ’99, the resulting quagmire would have been THE campaign issue of 2000. The neocons would have been rid of Hussein at the expense of Clinton and the Dems. Brilliant. No political capital expended. Too bad for them that Clinton didn’t bite – but 9/11 ultimately gave them the justification for going in anyway.

  18. Loc says

    Kseniya,

    You’re correct with the “letter” to then sitting President Clinton, but look at the Statement of Principles for Cheneys’ signature. However, Bill Kristol and the gang were formulating their strategy the moment U.S. didn’t fully dispose of Saddam in the First Gulf War. Read Hubris or any other current book detailing the invasion/selling of the Iraq War. Also, look at the other documents on the website and published by Kristol (Weekly Standard). Listen to Kristol’s talks prior and following 9/11. They needed the sort of event that would “rally the country” to support such an undertaking. Cheney was every bit aware of their discussions.

    So like I said, I think Cheney was on damage control in ’94 for questions pressing on why we didn’t “finish the job.” That’s my opinion. He didn’t want to signal weakness for the Republican party. He was loyal to the previous administration. More than anything with this current administration is loyalty. It didn’t appear overnight.

  19. Kseniya says

    Yup Loc, I did know that Cheney was involved with the PNAC and that he was a sometime signer of statements that came out of the Project. I just find it interesting that he didn’t sign The Letter. That may be an incidental and irrelevant detail, though. I haven’t browsed the PNAC site for two or three years now, but your comments are jogging my memory, and I think you’re pretty much right-on here.

  20. Justin Moretti says

    Going in was IMO correct. Saddam might not have been a direct player in 9/11, but as soon as the actuality of Islamofascist terrorism became as large as it did, he had to be taken out as a major State supporter. He had at one stage had a nuclear, biological and chemical programme, and given time might have resurrected any or all. He had to go, as he should have gone in 1991. (You cannot criticize Bush Snr for not deposing Saddam, and then turn around and in the same breath criticize the son for actually finishing what the father started.)

    Staying was IMO correct. You cannot simply dismantle the military and walk away.
    What has been done there was botched, and could IMO have been managed so as to succeed.

    In the intervening time between then and now, he reconsidered his decision and changed his mind. And made an honest mistake in doing so.

    Why can’t people see it that way, without connotations of conspiracy, mindlessness and evil? I would reserve that for people who walk into markets and mosques full of women and children with the deliberate premeditated intent of killing as many of those women and children as they can.

    What has happened is that the metaphorical boil in the underbelly of Islam has been lanced – the same one the Protestants and Catholics lanced all across Europe a few centuries ago – and people are nauseated by the sight of the ‘pus’. Knuckle down, people – those wars took hundreds of years to sort out, and this one is no different. We’re in for the long haul, wherever we are, and the moral stain lies with the suicide bombers and the sick creatures who direct them.

  21. says

    I’ll try to keep your hawkish justification in mind Justin just as soon as you convince me that all the dead Iraqis were the ones who actually attacked the United States on 9-11. Until then, we had no god damned reason for abandoning those who DID attack us to go charging into Iraq, and you know it. Bend reality all you wish. It’s not going to change the fact that we had no legitimate reason to overthrow a sovereign nation that was NO threat to us.

  22. Loc says

    Justin,

    You’re not even close on your analysis. Saddam WAS NOT a state supporter of terrorism. You get these ideas from the TV? Saddam was a DICTATOR. It wouldn’t be in his interest to sponsor terrorism. He wanted to remain in power. All these claims like, he had biological weapons under his palace or he was training terrorist on how to hijack airplanes were made up by Chalabis’ defectors. The reports have be researched, analyzed and discarded. Its funny that you still believe in such justifications. Have you not seen the chaos? How…IYO…can you still feel justified in attacking Iraq. Hundreds of thousands dead. Over 2 million have left. Lives destroyed. All for what?…because we thought he had WMDs. What a JOKE!!!

  23. Kseniya says

    Yup, Dan. I agree with some of Justin’s opinions, but the bottom line is this: A pre-9/11 agenda was pursued, dishonestly using 9/11 as a justification. One result is that Afghanistan is slipping away, Osama bin Laden is whereabouts unknown, and we’ve spent countless tens of billions of dollars on an invasion and occupation that were probably not necessary. The throbbing, pustulent boil on the underbelly of Islam is alive and well, and Operation Iraqi Liberation is a major reason why.

  24. Arnosium Upinarum says

    Simple: The time for the BigDaddyRats to flee the sinking ship has arrived, that’s all.

    Rove takes off, then Cheney equivocates. Bah-rum-bump. How slippery-illy OILY of them.

  25. CJ says

    Don’t kid yourself Cheney wanted to continue on to Baghdad – Bush the dad wouldn’t let them.

  26. Moses says

    A large pack of crap edited for truthfulness.

    Posted by: Justin Moretti

    Just another damn liar.

  27. True Bob says

    What’s wrong with how Afghanistan turned out? It’s a model of capitalistic success. Well, as long as you like opium.

    FWIW, I’ll join in on this: Iraq was never a threat to us. Ever. How young do you have to be to not recall the Big Bad Soviet Bear? We lived through that with all kinds of tensions, with nuk ya lur weapons pointed at each other, and life went on. Now we are supposed to buy duct tape and wet our pants every time someone says “Islamofascist”? Sheesh. Smedley Butler said it so well “War is a racket”.

  28. William Gulvin says

    Pish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: dick Dick Cheney before Dick Cheney dicks you!

    The man is the soul of evil. Only he of all people for sure doesn’t have one. Must be why he stays out of sight. In the sunlight he wouldn’t cast a shadow. And it’s obvious that he can’t see himself in a mirror.

  29. Geoffrey says

    Loc, Saddam was indeed a sponsor of terrorism; he was paying US$25k a time to the families of anti-Israel suicide bombers, doubtless because an external enemy is an effective way to foster internal unity.

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/03/25/1017004766310.html

    But I doubt that would have been enough to sell the war to Congress and the US public; that required associating him with terrorism *against the USA*, which is where we get into the realms of fiction.

  30. says

    “Why can’t people see it that way, without connotations of conspiracy, mindlessness and evil? I would reserve that for people who walk into markets and mosques full of women and children with the deliberate premeditated intent of killing as many of those women and children as they can.”

    Indeed. Because we all know, of course, we know that only Islamic terrorists are truly evil and are completely irrational aberrations that are in no way representative of our good, loyal, American leaders. Yes, the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was just our good American boys and gals showing their true love and concern for the Iraqi people.

    Ever since 9/11 we’ve been hearing about “The Terrorists” from Bush and Cheney, who have ascribed to them inhuman and America-centric motives. Things such as “they hate our freedoms” and thus wish to destroy us–America–completely. You expect me to believe that such a large number of people exist for such seflessly evil motivations, yet not believe that our own leaders are capable of the avarice and bloodlust of the Muslim Imams? That is, you expect me to believe in Absolute, Extraordinary Evil but not everyday greed, solipsism, nationalism and cruelty?

    Last I checked, Absolute Evil was the best friend of Big Brother. And that is exactly what the Bush Administration has been trying to do with the terrorist threat: turn it into the face of the absolutely vile and incorrigible Enemy that must be destroyed at all costs, in order to mollify the masses into going along with their plans. It is certainly what their rhetoric shows.

  31. cm says

    I’ve watched this twice now and it’s like the boys at Pixar have made a videorealistic mockup of a younger Cheney and synthesized is voice to say this. It’s just so Twilight Zonishly correct in its description of current conditions. It’s creepy.

    This clip should be played over and over and over again on all television stations throughout the country. Just imagine if those who considered themselves patriots, those who voted for Bush/Cheney, saw this, saw this in the context of what is happening now. Imagine how betrayed they would feel–they ought to feel–once they heard the “smart” one of the Bush team saying, “Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Sadam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place?”

  32. Baratos says

    I saw this earlier at a forum. The first comments were “Oh I bet this is doing to be fake.” Then “HOLY &*$%#*& I JUST WATCHED IT WTF IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY?” It was kind of wierd watching people change their whole view of Cheney in a few minutes.

  33. RickD says

    I seriously think that somewhere along the line, amongst his half-dozen heart attacks, Cheney lost a bit of the blood flow to his brain. At heart he’s always been an over-aggressive twit with no real grasp of military matters, but in the past he used to at least have some notion of his limitations.

    I think Cheney’s crowd has really come under collective delusion whereby schemes that seemed immoral several years back now seem bold. These are people who never had much of a conscience and, as they are getting older and feeling their mortality, think that the only way they can equal the accomplishments of the WWII generation is to impose military conquest on some country – any country. And after building up a military for decades, they just cannot help but feel that the military is the solution to any problem they have.

    They are neither terribly moral nor terribly aware people. There is a story floating around about how Cheney watched Ken Burns’ Civil War and thought that he was an expert on military action.

    For me, the key thing to keep in mind is that Cheney flunked out of Yale. Even W. managed to keep his head above water at Yale, a school notorious for using the “Gentleman’s C” to keep around the kids of important almuni/donors. And yet Cheney flunked out.

    He’s been overrated for a very long time. He’s the kind of man who justifies his amorality out of a feeling of insecurity and being beleagured. Incompence and aggression are key parts of the fascist mentality.

  34. autumn says

    Post-Gulf War, America and the U.N. had absoloute control of every bit of military impetus Iraq could muster. We had constant vigilance on the ground in the form of inspectors (yes, Saddam was a dick about it, but every site eventually got inspected, and no, Saddam was not allowed to move truckloads of stuff while we weren’t watching), and if a military installation so much as turned on its RADAR, we bombed the hell out of it.
    Ironic, isn’t it, that prior to our current occupation, America had vastly superior control of the situation.

  35. somedude says

    RickD may be right. I’ve read a few places on the Internet that Cheney had a stroke the apparent effects of which rather changed his personality and outlook.

  36. natural cynic says

    Wednesday night Stephen Hayes, Cheney’s hagiographer was on The Daily Show. Stewart totally reams him, and gets in a solid jab at Fox Noise. Look for it.

  37. hoary puccoon says

    Ice weasel #33–
    One word: Halliburton.

    It’s three words, now: Halliburton of Dubai.

  38. David Marjanović says

    Justin, Justin… OBL called Saddam an “apostate and communist” (Saddam’s great role model was Stalin) and in 1990 offered the USA (his old allies from Afghanistan, remember) to form a coalition against Saddam.

    It’s obvious that Saddam wouldn’t have given WMD out of his control, and not just because he had destroyed all he had had sometime between 1998 and 2002. Announcing to pay the families of dead “martyrs” after the fact is one thing, giving WMDs to people who aren’t afraid of death and believe that God rather than Saddam should rule is another.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that prior to our current occupation, America had vastly superior control of the situation.

    That is simply worth repeating.

    Oh, and it’s not just Halliburton. There’s also Bechtel, and a Decider ™ who wants to be a War President ™, and ChevronTexacoWhatnot…

    Also…

    Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: “Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.”

    — The Guardian, June 4th, 2003, quoting what Wolfowitz had said at an Asian security summit in Singapur. Wolfowitz has never denied having said this.

  39. David Marjanović says

    Justin, Justin… OBL called Saddam an “apostate and communist” (Saddam’s great role model was Stalin) and in 1990 offered the USA (his old allies from Afghanistan, remember) to form a coalition against Saddam.

    It’s obvious that Saddam wouldn’t have given WMD out of his control, and not just because he had destroyed all he had had sometime between 1998 and 2002. Announcing to pay the families of dead “martyrs” after the fact is one thing, giving WMDs to people who aren’t afraid of death and believe that God rather than Saddam should rule is another.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that prior to our current occupation, America had vastly superior control of the situation.

    That is simply worth repeating.

    Oh, and it’s not just Halliburton. There’s also Bechtel, and a Decider ™ who wants to be a War President ™, and ChevronTexacoWhatnot…

    Also…

    Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: “Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.”

    — The Guardian, June 4th, 2003, quoting what Wolfowitz had said at an Asian security summit in Singapur. Wolfowitz has never denied having said this.

  40. Kseniya says

    Ironic, isn’t it, that prior to our current occupation, America had vastly superior control of the situation. ~ Autumn

    That is simply worth repeating.

    Yes… Yes, it is!

    Now we’re trapped into staying until we have a similar, or superior, degree of control. Gah!

  41. somedude says

    Thanks for the link, Matt. I don’t think I’d want to have any sort of surgery that prolonged my life if some aspect of the procedure made me not only less intelligent but unkind and aggressive. It’s good that there are different techniques for this surgery and for at least some people, alternatives to the surgery itself.

  42. Geral says

    The video is really sad. Why did we get it so wrong this time when the consequences were known back in ’94?

    The part that sticks out the most is,

    “… was how many additional dead Americans was Saddam Hussein worth? And our judgment was ‘not very many’ and I think we got it right.”

    Was 3,689 worth it? Is it still?

    Cheney back in 1994 didn’t think so…

  43. Steve_C says

    The crazy thing is that we KNEW that Saddam was much less a threat in 2003 than when we pulled out in 94. 9 years of sanctions and inspections and airstrikes left very little but a conventional demoralised army.

    But you know what was different then?

    Cheney hadn’t been CEO of Haliburton yet.