A few weeks ago, former Vice President Dick Cheney was in the middle of yet another Sunday-show appearance when was confronted with a series of ridiculously wrong predictions he made about the war in Iraq. Rather than respond – or worse, own up to his horrific mistakes – the failed former V.P. dismissed the question.
“If we spend our time debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, we’re going to miss the threat that is growing and that we do face,” Cheney replied.
By this reasoning, it sounds like Dick Cheney isn’t interested in re-litigating his catastrophic mistakes. He just wants to complain about President Obama and have his grumbles taken at face value. Never mind the recent past, Cheney seemed to be arguing; let’s pretend credibility doesn’t matter while focusing on the present.
But as it turns out, that’s not the case, at least not all of it. Cheney may be uncomfortable when confronted with his obvious and tragic errors, but he’s also desperate to re-litigate the war he got so very wrong.
Late Friday afternoon, the Weekly Standard published a lengthy, 3,000-word treatise from Dick and Liz Cheney with an unintentionally hilarious headline: “The Truth About Iraq.” (Because news consumers who really want the truth about Iraq know to turn to a Weekly Standard piece written by, of all people, the Cheneys.) One would have to read the whole thing to believe its farcical qualities, but here’s just a small sampling:
Those who say the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a mistake are essentially saying we would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power. That’s a difficult position to sustain. It is undisputed, and has been confirmed repeatedly in Iraqi government documents captured after the invasion, that Saddam had deep, longstanding, far-reaching relationships with terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda and its affiliates.
It was literally last month when Dick Cheney insisted there’s no point in “debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago,” but now, he has a new pitch: can we talk about Saddam and al Qaeda again?
I can think of so many instances in recent years in which the Cheneys’ rhetoric has been infuriating, but this marks something of a turning point. This new the-war-was-really-awesome-don’t-believe-your-lying-eyes argument isn’t maddening; it’s pathetic.
Ed Kilgore added in response to the piece:
It is a complete recapitulation of the case that the invasion of Iraq was essential, that the Bush administration won the war after the “surge,” and that Obama is squandering the fruits of victory by refusing to go right back into the quagmire.The Cheneys have seen nothing, heard nothing, and learned nothing since 2002. And they don’t even seem to understand they are undermining the credibility of Obama’s legion of Republican critics. The word “incorrigible” comes to mind. Gaze in awe.
In the larger context, the Cheneys have been quite aggressive of late, writing op-eds, appearing on TV, making public appearances, probably because they hope to restore their tarnished reputations. Liz Cheney’s Senate campaign was an embarrassing fiasco, and the consequences of Dick Cheney’s failures in office continue to be felt today. They may well assume a p.r. campaign will help restore their ruined credibility.
The bad news is, it’s not working. The worse news is, they more they talk, the worse it gets.