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Cheney in '94: "Invading Baghdad would create a quagmire"

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 04:28 am
YouTube is featuring an interesting video today. Recorded in 1994, it shows the younger Dick Cheney in 1994.

    [b] Interviewer:[/b] Do you think the US or UN forces should have moved into Baghdad? [b]Cheney:[/b] No. [b]Interviewer:[/b] Why not? [b]Cheney:[/b] Because if we'd gone into Baghdad, we would've been all alone; there wouldn't have been anybody else with us; there would've been a US occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what you gonna put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you can easily end up seing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, of the West. Part of Eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim, fought over it for years. In the North you've got the Kurds. If the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to invade Iraq. The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families it wasn't a [mumbles two syllables I can't understand]. And the question for the president in terms of whether we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to ged Saddam Hussein was, "how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?" And our judgment was, "not very many", and I agree, in Iraq. [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Egodlikeproductions%2Ecom%2Fbbs%2Fmessage%2Ephp%3Fmessageid%3D423306%26mpage%3D1%26showdate%3D8%2F12%2F07%26forum%3D1]Click here for the videoon YouTube.[/url]

The Cheney of 1994 sounds clairvoiant today. He precisely predicts the quagmire that the Vice President Cheney of 2002 helped push America into. It's not that he was the only politician with such a clear view of what was going on. Several grown up Republicans were giving pretty much the same assessment the time, particularly George H. W. Bush, Brent Scowcroft, and James Baker.

What makes this interview special is the evidence defense secretary Cheney provides about Vice president Cheney. It shows that when the Vice president pressed for the invasion of Iraq, he did it against his better strategic judgment, for reasons other than the best interest of the United States. The interview, then, supplies a further reason to conclude that Cheney has crassly broken his oath of office.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,003 • Replies: 96
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 04:43 am
I just noticed that Solve et Coagula has already started a thread about this. Sorry for the duplication.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 06:27 am
But we weren't alone in 2002, we had a coalition of the "willing".
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 07:47 am
Laughing
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Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 08:13 am
but...but...but...in a 'post 9/11 world' it's okay to make stupid decisions.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 11:45 am
I've wondered about this for a long time. It has been no secret that Cheney was one of the advocates of limiting action in the first gulf war. And he's not stupid, and certainly nothing happened between then and 2003 that would change his assessment. So I'm left with the conclusion that the outcome we have is the one that was desired. Perhaps a fragmented Iraq works to someone's advantage?
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 11:49 am
(those two syllables were "cheap war")
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 12:19 pm
FreeDuck wrote:
Perhaps a fragmented Iraq works to someone's advantage?

Well, one predictable consequence of a civil war in Iraq is to drive oil prices up. I wonder, whose political clientele benefits from rising oil prices?

On a different note, thanks for the two syllables.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 01:09 pm
Thomas,

Shall I assume that in saying Cheney had other reasons and therefore broke his oath of office you are making some vague reference to the control of petroleum or some other element of personal gain?

I don't think that is plausible. I do agree with you the quote shows that Cheney had (or at least expressed) an accurate perception in 1994 of the situation we see today. It is likely that in i994 he was defending the policy of the Administration he then served.

None of us can say for sure what is behind the change. However I think it more likely that Cheney, who made his career by being close to those in power, was dexterous at resonating with the central ambitions of those who posessed that power. (This is hardly an unusual thing in history - consider Talleyrand).

There are other potential factors as well. There were significant frustrations and resentments that grew up during the 1990s over the perceived fecklesness and opportunism of the Clinton Administrations. This centered particularly over the inept handling of the transition going on in the then CIS and successor states of the former USSR; the long delayed reaction to the Serbian excesses following the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia; the sometimes inept and usually passive handling of the growing signs of disintegration, fanaticism, and terrorism in the Islamic world; and finally the equally flabby management of the post Gulf War constraints put on Saddam's government in Iraq. (We should have removed many of them entirely and more strictly enforced others.).

In addition new movements were afoot in Europe for structures for the governance othe world - the ICC, the Law of the Sea; Kyoto; etc. These were seen by conservatives here as wrongheaded and incabable of addressing the real problems they supposedly addressed, and, worse, capable of much mischief in their side effects. Based on what I know of Cheney, these motivated him as well.

None of this, however, fully explains or excuses the fundamental strategic errors in the policy and actions of the Bush Administration. I believe it offers a context in which errors which now appear unexplainable, could occur.

I also believe that an independent source of the motivation for the so-called "neocons" was the prodection of the ambitions of the dominant expansionist political forces in Israel. The essence of the (misguided) Bush policies was the notion that there could be a policy that would simultaneously protect an expansionist Israel and contain or redirect the forces of Islamic reactiand rivalry. I believe this is a great (and misguided) illusion - no such solution exists. We must instead approach these issues on a more fundamental basis.

I believe all of this suggests a much more plausible scenario than your post.

Do you believe that former Chancellor Schroeder's current position as a consultant to Gasprom now reveals the truth about his policies?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 01:10 pm
(Thanks for transcribing it! It's always frustrating when there's a YouTube link of that kind, really nice to know what's being said.) (Of course what IS being said is frustrating too... grrr.)
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 03:29 pm
georgeob1 wrote:
Shall I assume that in saying Cheney had other reasons and therefore broke his oath of office you are making some vague reference to the control of petroleum or some other element of personal gain?

Yes and no; no, I never bought the "control of petroleum" conspiracy theory. But who needs control if you can have rising prices on the petroleum your political sponsors already own? If it was a mistake of Cheney to get behind the invasion of Iraq, it was a convenient one for his financial base.

georgeob1 wrote:
It is likely that in i994 he was defending the policy of the Administration he then served.

Which administration did Cheney serve in 1994?

georgeob1 wrote:
None of us can say for sure what is behind the change.

I agree. That's why I say "evidence", not "proof".

georgeob1 wrote:
However I think it more likely that Cheney, who made his career by being close to those in power, was dexterous at resonating with the central ambitions of those who posessed that power. (This is hardly an unusual thing in history - consider Talleyrand).

Was invading Iraq a central ambition of George Bush II? Unless I misremember the presidential campaign of 2000, Bush's program was anti nation building, anti-interventionist, and dedicated to a humbler foreign policy. I doubt that your explanation predicts Cheney's behavior, given Bush's foreign policy agenda.

georgeob1 wrote:
Do you believe that former Chancellor Schroeder's current position as a consultant to Gasprom now reveals the truth about his policies?

"Reveal" is a strong word; but yes, it confirms suspicions I already had about Schröder, his personal closeness to Putin, and his strategically destructive deal with the gas pipeline that bypassed the Poles, Ukraine, and the Baltic countries. It confirmed my view of Schröder as smart but not wise; intelligent, but opportunistic and somewhat corrupt.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 03:30 pm
You're welcome, Sozobe. Smile
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 03:41 pm
georgeob1 wrote:
None of us can say for sure what is behind the change. However I think it more likely that Cheney, who made his career by being close to those in power, was dexterous at resonating with the central ambitions of those who posessed that power. (This is hardly an unusual thing in history - consider Talleyrand).

Another answer to this paragraph would be to ask: How does your "this is hardly unusual" refute my "he broke his oath of office"? Quite possibly it isn't all that unusual for high-ranking politicians to break their oaths of office. That doesn't make it okay, and doesn't mean we shouldn't call them on it.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 06:10 pm
mark
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 06:15 pm
Quite a find, Thomas! And yes, sighing.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 06:16 pm
Thomas wrote:
georgeob1 wrote:
Do you believe that former Chancellor Schroeder's current position as a consultant to Gasprom now reveals the truth about his policies?

"Reveal" is a strong word; but yes, it confirms suspicions I already had about Schröder, his personal closeness to Putin, and his strategically destructive deal with the gas pipeline that bypassed the Poles, Ukraine, and the Baltic countries. It confirmed my view of Schröder as smart but not wise; intelligent, but opportunistic and somewhat corrupt.

Agreed.

Thomas wrote:
georgeob1 wrote:
None of us can say for sure what is behind the change. However I think it more likely that Cheney, who made his career by being close to those in power, was dexterous at resonating with the central ambitions of those who posessed that power. (This is hardly an unusual thing in history - consider Talleyrand).

Another answer to this paragraph would be to ask: How does your "this is hardly unusual" refute my "he broke his oath of office"? Quite possibly it isn't all that unusual for high-ranking politicians to break their oaths of office. That doesn't make it okay, and doesn't mean we shouldn't call them on it.

Much agreed..
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 06:18 pm
Stunning find to me. Not so much that he changed, but the clarity of it. It makes me question what/who drove the change, precisely.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Aug, 2007 07:36 pm
Re: Cheney in '94: "Invading Baghdad would create a qua
Thomas wrote:
YouTube is featuring an interesting video today. Recorded in 1994, it shows the younger Dick Cheney in 1994.
....
What makes this interview special is the evidence defense secretary Cheney provides about Vice president Cheney. It shows that when the Vice president pressed for the invasion of Iraq, he did it against his better strategic judgment, for reasons other than the best interest of the United States. The interview, then, supplies a further reason to conclude that Cheney has crassly broken his oath of office.


I assumed your reference to 1994 was to the date of the interview. As a result I didn't quibble about who was in office then. Have you been spending a lot of time with Walter?

I take it your second paragraph above constitutes your definition of just what constitutes "breaking one's oath of office". My suggestion was that, based on my understanding of life, humanity and men in power, it is more likely that Cheney was reflecting the positions of the administrations of which he was a part, and the immediate influences on him and them at the two periods. Have you ever acted in a manner contrary to principles or an analysis of a situation that you made earlier?

Thomas wrote:
Yes and no; no, I never bought the "control of petroleum" conspiracy theory. But who needs control if you can have rising prices on the petroleum your political sponsors already own? If it was a mistake of Cheney to get behind the invasion of Iraq, it was a convenient one for his financial base.
I think you are making some illogical connections. Cheney had already made his money from Haliburton, and no longer had any affiliation with them. His power as Vice President certainly exceeded theirs - there is no evidence to suggest Haliburton was his "political sponsor" - indeed his political position was quite independent of them. The rising oil prices we see have everything to do with rising demand in Asia; falling production in the North Sea; and political troubles in Nigeria. They would be the same if we didn't invade Iraq.

Thomas wrote:
georgeob1 wrote:

However I think it more likely that Cheney, who made his career by being close to those in power, was dexterous at resonating with the central ambitions of those who posessed that power. (This is hardly an unusual thing in history - consider Talleyrand).


Was invading Iraq a central ambition of George Bush II? Unless I misremember the presidential campaign of 2000, Bush's program was anti nation building, anti-interventionist, and dedicated to a humbler foreign policy. I doubt that your explanation predicts Cheney's behavior, given Bush's foreign policy agenda.


I'll grant you the policy of the Bush Administration diverged from Bush's campaign rhetoric right from the start with the abrupt "unsigning" of the Kyoto & ICC treaties. (The Kyoto accord was obviously an unworkable deal which the Clinton administration foolishly signed. The ICC had been at a negotiating impasse for a couple of years when Clinton signed it without much warning in the last weeks of his administration.) Neither treaty was likely to gain even the support of the majority of Democrats in the Senate. Bush merely acted on the inevitable. That said, it is clear that certainly Bush's policies had changed abruptly after 9/11 and perhaps sooner.

I don't know the reasons for this, and I see no logical difference between the "mystery of Cheney's reversal and the equivalent "mystery of Bush's. My argument was my best guess at both. I believe it is plausible and less unlikely than the non specific conspiracy scenarios that are the usual alternative. Now if after leaving office Cheney takes a job with a major oil company or even Gazprom, I will reconsider this statement.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Aug, 2007 02:48 am
No mystery here.
At least 7 Explanations:

1. Bush is president, not Cheney.
2. Post 911, we felt like hitting any handy thug that was smiling about it and may have been involved directly, indirectly or could be directly in the future, and Hussein was handy.
3. The threat of WMD was judged to be much higher than in 1994, and this was a threat that could find its way into terrorist hands. After the shocking realization that there were people willing and able to bring buildings down and fly into the Pentagon, killing thousands in a few minutes, some of us, including Cheney, realized the stark possibilities of a renegade like Saddam Hussein.
4. We finally lost patience with Saddam Hussein, after how many years.
5. Many Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton, even said it was time, it was adviseable, that Hussein was a serious threat, and needed to be disarmed and taken out.
6. We had a few more allies than in 1994 and figured it was more feasible.
7. Our operations in Afghanistan were working, and it encouraged us that similar success could happen in Iraq.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Aug, 2007 05:35 am
Re: Cheney in '94: "Invading Baghdad would create a qua
georgeob1 wrote:
[...] it is more likely that Cheney was reflecting the positions of the administrations of which he was a part,

And whose choice was it that Dick Cheney was part of those administrations? Why Dick Cheney's, of course. That makes him responsible for any contradictions between his public statements. Especially when he finishes them with "and I agree".

Thomas wrote:
and the immediate influences on him and them at the two periods. Have you ever acted in a manner contrary to principles or an analysis of a situation that you made earlier?

Yes I have. It was wrong, and I'm trying not to do it anymore.


Thomas wrote:
I think you are making some illogical connections.

I don't see how my connections are illogical. They may be wrong, especially if the facts you assert are correct. But I don't see where you think the contradictions lie.

georgeob1 wrote:
The rising oil prices we see have everything to do with rising demand in Asia; falling production in the North Sea; and political troubles in Nigeria. They would be the same if we didn't invade Iraq.

I'm not convinced. William Nordhaus, the Yale economist whose analyses guide me on global warming, has a 2003 paper in which he calculated the likely economic impact of the then impending war in Iraq. His analysis included a chapter on oil prices. As best I remember, his best case scenario was that oil prices remain as they are; his worst case scenario, in which Iraq remained unstable and oil production didn't recover, was that oil prices rise to $70/barrel.

I guess it's possible that Nordhaus ended up being right for the wrong reasons. But from my perspective as an interested layman who reads and trusts reputable economists like Nordhaus, this looks very much like a prediction confirmed.

georgeob1 wrote:
Now if after leaving office Cheney takes a job with a major oil company or even Gazprom, I will reconsider this statement.

Unacoal, please. We conspiracy theorists have our money on Unacoal.
0 Replies
 
 

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