Dick Cheney 1991 quote

Dick Cheney in 1991 on ABC’s This Week said this. He was then Senior Bush’s Secretary of Defense.

I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire. Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shia government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Baath party, would it be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all.

Thanks to John Ballard who found this.

One Comment

  1. Keith wrote:

    I wondered what had changed between 1991 and Iraq war II.
    A friend sent me an email about the entry:

    Well someone asked me the same question: that is, if Cheney really believed what he was saying here back in ’91, and wasn’t just being a mouthpiece for Bush Sr., what might have changed his mind to go ahead and invade Iraq in 2003? Here’s what I came up with:

    –The stalemated finale to Persian Gulf I was a constant source of embarrassment and humiliation to Bush 1;

    –It was also expensive to keep Saddam boxed in when all that Iraqi oil might have been used by us;

    –UN sanctions in conjunction with Saddam’s wheeler-dealing was creating a human tragedy inside Iraq;

    –Paul Wolfowitz was chosen to be Undersecretary of Defense, by which time he had already formulated his Wolfowitz Doctrine, well before 9/11, which was later rolled over into the Bush Doctrine. Because Wolfowitz was chosen for this position presumably Cheney was sympathetic to his political views;

    –We should never forget how much 9/11 spooked/humiliated the Bush administration, and prompted them to take radical action while at the same time being complete novices about international terrorism — a dangerous recipe for doing something stupid;

    –Bogus intelligence and the influence of Israel and their proxies, who had much more experience in dealing with international terrorism, surely showed Cheney and his minions THE WAY. Unfortunately, it was the way to total fucking disaster.

    Another reason Cheney might have changed his mind about invading Iraq, if indeed he ever really changed it, is because he believed our weaponry was so sophisticated now, the enemy didn’t have a chance. When you harbor this sort of mentality, the lessons of history, even if you have learned them, become disposable. Thus, in ’91 Cheney may very well have strongly believed the things he said about the precariousness of bringing democracy to Iraq. What might have lead him to change his mind is the technocrat’s faith in the progress of our weaponry since then.

    There has also been a dangerous tendency amongst republicans to harbor a nonhistorical outlook. It has been especially prevalent amongst the neocons (Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History is a noteworthy example). Many republicans since Reagan have tended to favor the idea that any country can become democratic and a sort of prosperous mini-United States if the (necessarily foreign) architects do things right to set the groundwork. Of course, this is absolute nonsense, as a country like Iraq has a brutal authoritarian history extending back for millenia, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that democracy there probably could never stick, regardless how savvy the technocrats re-engineering it are. In the case of Iraq, the problem has been compounded by the fact that the technocrats chosen to do the job were incompetent nincompoops, as a recent book about life inside the so-called Green Zone documents (Imperial Life in the Emerald City, I think it’s called).

    Of course, this whole idea that any country can be re-engineered to become capitalist is simply corporate propaganda — an attempt by corporations to get the US government to take the first steps towards making countries such as Iraq market economies in which US corporations can prosper. These countries needn’t be transformed into democracies, however, for this to happen, and surely Bush’s blathering about bringing democracy to Iraq meant the same thing there that it has come to mean in the United States: A puppet democracy, where a ruling elite holds all the real power.

    Which gives weight to another theory about why Cheney might have changed his mind since ’91: he was convinced that the Iraqi people were going to be as gullible as his own countrymen in accepting the sham democracy the US would be engineering for them. After all, the man has been in politics so long, and the longer that a person is involved in politics, the less respect he’s apt to have for the intelligence of the masses, since his career is posited on systematically bamboozling the masses on a daily basis. Cheney probably figured that Iraqi citizens are as stupid, misinformed, and gullible as American citizens are. He has probably since discovered to his chagrin that absolutely nobody in the world is as stupid, misinformed, and gullible as Americans — not even illiterate Iraqis.

    Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 11:42 am | Permalink