know this isn’t exactly a current event, but this was a chunk of logic that had always perplexed me. Consider this another one of my open discussion threads, where this time I revisit the “Why the heck did we invade Iraq, again?” question. First, we’re going to take the time machine back to 1994 and visit our pal Dick Cheney (this video seems to be making the rounds). He’s explaining why deposing Saddam would be a BAD idea. WARNING: You are about to enter the Twilight Zone…
How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?”
Yep, he actually said ”quagmire”
Fast forward to March 2003. Cheney is explaining the rationale for war with MTP’s Tim Russert, and mentions 9/11 ten times, al-Qaeda six times and WMD’s dozens of times. Here is the part where Cheney explains why he’s flip-flopped on the issue:
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I hope not, Tim. Of course, in ’91, there was a general consensus that we’d gone as far as we should. We’d achieved our objectives when we liberated Kuwait and that we shouldn’t go on to Baghdad. But there were several assumptions that was based on. One that all those U.N. Security Council resolutions would be enforced. None of them has been. That’s the major difference. And it was based on the proposition that Saddam Hussein probably wouldn’t survive. Most of the experts believed based upon the severe drubbing we administered to his forces in Kuwait that he was likely to be overthrown or ousted. Of course, that didn’t happen. He’s proven to be a much tougher customer than anybody expected.
We’re now faced with a situation, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, where the threat to the United States is increasing. And over time, given Saddam’s posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons. And in light of that, we have to be prepared, I think, to take the action that is being contemplated. Doesn’t insist that he be disarmed and if the U.N. won’t do it, then the United States and other partners of the coalition will have to do that.
Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. And the president’s made it very clear that our purpose there is, if we are forced to do this, will in fact be to stand up a government that’s representative of the Iraqi people, hopefully democratic due respect for human rights, and it, obviously, involves a major commitment by the United States, but we think it’s a commitment worth making. And we don’t have the option anymore of simply laying back and hoping that events in Iraq will not constitute a threat to the U.S. Clearly, 12 years after the Gulf War, we’re back in a situation where he does constitute a threat.
Of course, Cheney makes no mention of “quagmire” and he doesn’t touch on the pitfalls of having a occupying force in a “volatile region” or the dangers of having “pieces of Iraq fly off”. Nope. Greeted as liberators. And as we all know, Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, little to do with al Qaeda, and those WMD’s never really turned up.
Cheney was actually asked about the “quagmire” sentiment back in February:
Karl: 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 –
Cheney: 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.
Ah, I think we have it right there. They thought we were weak, so of course the perfect way to show them how tough we are would be….invading a country that had nothing to do with it? Something that Cheney himself said would be a extremely risky proposition just a few years earlier. Makes sense.
I wonder if it ever occurred to Cheney that maybe they knew that if they hit us hard enough, we’d do something stupid and reckless and get ourselves stuck in a “quagmire”?
Update: This video is really making the rounds. It’s #3 on YouTube right now. Also, the reaction at DailyKos.
Update: The video was posted over at Hot Air as well.
My effing point was to contrast Cheney’s remarkable prescience about the consequences of occupying Iraq in 1994 with the foolhardiness of some of the administration’s planning before invading in 2003. Publicly, at least, they expected an easy time of it. Cheney in 1994 knew better. Why the discrepancy? And why are you so irritated that I’d post this?
Allahpundit on August 11, 2007 at 2:51 PM
I’m beginning to like this Allahpundit.