Former Vice President Dick Cheney is making the rounds promoting a new book, and talked to Bill O’Reilly about a variety of issues the other night, though one exchange in particular seemed noteworthy.
The Fox News host raised a question I suspect many Americans have asked: “[W]e spent a $1 trillion on this with a lot of pain and suffering on the American military. What did we get out of it?” Cheney, true to form, began talking about 9/11 – which Iraq had nothing to do with – and his belief that al Qaeda wanted weapons of mass destruction. What does this have to do with the U.S. invasion of Iraq? I have no idea.
So, O’Reilly asked again: “What do we get out of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?” Ben Armbruster highlighted Cheney’s response:
“What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.”
What a fascinating choice of words. In Cheney’s mind, al Qaeda wanted dangerous weapons, so we now have the comfort of knowing we launched an unnecessary war against an enemy unrelated to al Qaeda, therefore eliminating a “potential source” of weapons the enemy didn’t have.
Remember, Republicans and much of the media consider Dick Cheney an expert on matters related to national security.
By this reasoning, of course, the United States should invade and occupy literally every country that doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction because they might acquire WMD at some point and then become a “potential source” for terrorists.
This perspective suggests Cheney’s national security strategy was a terrible failure because he was only able to invade two countries, instead of many more.
Let’s also not forget that the failed former V.P. has had more than a decade to think of coherent rationales for his disastrous decisions. He apparently hasn’t come up with much.