Form of, “Did I Say That?”: Cheney on Occupying Iraq

It is difficult to stay pure as a politician. Subtle understandings about support for a position one day and reversals later are lost on the public. Decisions to do one’s duty by going to war and then doing one’s duty as a citizen or Senator by being critical of poor policies (so yes Kerry did his duty and served our country each time and should have said so) are hard to understand. Take a look at the clip below. In it Cheney, in 1994, identifies real issues about Iraq and holds that the U.S. should not have taken over Baghdad because of specific reasons having to do with the U.S. being alone, having to occupy the country, power vacuums, possible disintegration of the country, casualties, and more. The reasons or possible problems never went away. Thus although one may accept new reasons for supporting the invasion (dubious or not), the clip shows clear insights by a smart person that seem to have been ignored in planning the current war. Maybe there are points that are hard to understand, and only those in power are privy to them. But the exact detail with which Cheney describes the problems faced today in Iraq are stunning and suggests that the government may want to offer full, honest details about how it planned to address the issues Cheney identified in 1994. Even with the current reasonable distrust of the administration, such a move might rebuild a little faith in government.

Hat tip to Marjorie Cohn.

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2 Responses

  1. Dave Levine says:

    Was Cheney ignored or did he change position? The plot thickens . . . thanks for the post.

  2. AYY says:

    There are so many equivocations and hedgings in this post that I’m not quite sure what you’re saying.

    Just because all problems haven’t been solved doesn’t mean they weren’t planned for reasonably well. (You seem to have left out the fact that the Dems haven’t been all that keen on funding our troops properly.) And besides, we didn’t go into Iraq alone, so I don’t follow why you think that was a problem.

    At the time of the first Gulf War Saddam’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs were at a different stage than they were in 2003. Also at that time we thought France and Russia might cooperate to the point that sanctions would work. Also Saddam’s relationship with Al Qaeda was apparently quite different.

    So if Cheney changed positions, there might have been a good reason for it. Risks that might not have been worth taking in the early 90’s could have been worth taking in 2003.