Dick Cheney, one of the main architects of the fiasco that was the Iraq war, spoke to Hugh Hewitt on his radio show on Thursday and accused President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “incompetence” which has damaged our standing in the region.
This is the same man who helped to cherry-pick misleading intelligence to justify an invasion of Iraq in part because of 9/11, an attack financed, organized and carried out predominately by Saudis.
Speaking about Benghazi he told Hewitt, “I think the Benghazi thing is one of the great — it’s not just an embarrassment, it’s a tragedy, because we lost four people that night. And what I always recall is [Hillary Clinton’s] testimony saying what difference does it make? And the fact of the matter is it makes a huge difference. And we should have been able to protect those people or certainly go to their rescue. They knew there was trouble in Benghazi, and they were unable to respond. So I think it’s a tragedy.”
The entire quote puts an entirely different light on her words, what she said in full was: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It’s our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”
He goes on to criticize the President for what Hewitt calls a “victory dance” after Osama bin Laden was killed two years ago, saying:
Well, my concern about the way bin Laden was handled: one, I was glad they got him. Two, they needed to recognize, as some have, although he never really has, but all the work that was done by our intel professionals over a period of ten years to make that possible. And the other thing was that by going public the way they did, they lost, I am convinced, some opportunities. When we used to take — for example, I remember when we took down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June of, I think it was ’06 in Iraq, we collected an enormous amount of intelligence off that operation. You don’t go out and broadcast the fact that you’ve got the guy. You want to take that intelligence and be able to exploit it over the next few nights, and wrap up large parts of the network. What they did in Benghazi, they were in a such a hurry to go out, or not Benghazi, but with bin Laden, such a hurry to go out and announce victory, that I’m convinced that they probably did not get maximum damage out of the intel that they had captured.
The man was dead! How much information was he going to give us?
Hewitt then asks about the possibility that Iran may be close to acquiring a nuclear weapon to which Cheney replied, “Well, I don’t think we want Iran armed with nuclear weapons. I know the Israelis don’t. the Saudis don’t. The Emirates don’t. Nobody in the region thinks that it makes sense, or is a good idea at all.”
It is very unlikely that the President would disagree.
Finally Hewitt asks about what he terms “the President’s fiasco in Syria.”
Well, the fact of the matter is, Hugh, that you’ve got a lot of people in that part of the world that historically have been friends and allies of the United States. They’re people we worked with in Desert Storm. And they have been good friends. They’re people we can count on. And they’re now absolutely convinced they can no longer put any faith and trust in the United States of America. Part of it is because of the incompetence of the administration. And the whole Syrian episode, he drew a red line, then he didn’t pay any attention to it when they crossed the red line with respect to use of chemical weapons, and then he came back and said, ‘Boy, we’re going to do something.’ And then they announced they were going to strike Syria, and then they said, ‘Well, it’s not going to be a very big strike.’ And then said, ‘Well, we’re not going to do it, we’re going to go to the Congress.’
Like so many on the right, Cheney refuses to acknowledge that the evidence says that the President and John Kerry played Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad like a pair of finely tuned Stradivarius violins. If one stands back and look at how the brinksmanship played out in that scenario, it looks as if the President and Secretary of State orchestrated the entire affair so as to allow Putin and Assad to save face while we achieved a non-violent solution.
Of course Bush, at Cheney’s urging would have charged in and embroiled us in another war that would take decades to end.
Listen to the interview in the video below: