An infamous interview with then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney before the Iraq war is quite interesting.
When asked why the George H. W. Bush Administration did not seek to remove Saddam Hussein from power in the first Gulf War, Cheney expressed the exact fears that liberals felt when Baby Bush called for war in Iraq.
“If we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. 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, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it – eastern Iraq – the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and 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 take over Iraq. The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact 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 cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.”
It is interesting how 1993 Dick Cheney knew exactly the risk associated with removing Saddam from power, but still fabricated a war to do just that in 2003. Somewhere during that 10-year period, caution got thrown into the wind and removing Saddam turned into a crusade for President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
The Bush II Administration may have been a completely economic, social and foreign policy failure, however, the one thing they were good at was propaganda. Suddenly, anybody who raised the same warnings as Cheney had in 1993 were unpatriotic and un-American. The American people were told that if they spoke out against the President in time of war, they were awful people. Fast-forward to 2014, and Republicans cannot belittle and undermine the President enough.
It is an interesting side of Cheney that has since been lost to a grumpy old man who is bitter at the world. Unfortunately, the national media will not ask him to answer for his change of heart.
Watch the video below to see 1993 Defense Secretary Dick Cheney defend allowing Saddam to remain in power, and the risk associated with his removal.