Saturday, February 24, 2007

Do you notice a theme

Earlier I posted on a man, in a red tie, quoting a report by a government agency. The report actually said exactly the opposite of what he told us it said. He did sound convincing though.

Now Cheney does the same thing and sounds just as convincing. This time, however, he is not quoting a report that says exactly the opposite of what he says the report says. He is quoting himself.

Here it is from The Carpetbagger:

Cheney debunks himself
Shortly after the first Gulf War, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney was a little sensitive to charges that he failed to “finish the job” against Iraq. More than a few hawks thought that Cheney and the other Bush administration dropped the ball when it had the opportunity to take out Saddam but chose not to.
In a 1991 speech, Cheney delivered a rather defensive speech on the subject, noting the intense sectarian rivalries that dominate Iraqi society and the likely inability to maintain stability in Baghdad. As for replacing Saddam with a democracy, Cheney asked his audience, “How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?”
Cheney also said:
“The notion that we ought to now go to Baghdad and somehow take control of the
country strikes me as an extremely serious one in terms of what we’d have to do
once we got there. You’d probably have to put some new government in place. It’s
not clear what kind of government that would be, how long you’d have to stay.
For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the
struggle over who’s going to govern in Iraq strikes me as a classic definition
of a quagmire.”

The ‘91 Cheney sure was smart, wasn’t he?
To his credit, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl sat down with Cheney in Australia today for a fairly wide-ranging interview, and asked the Vice President about his remarks from 16 years ago.

Cheney’s response was not reassuring.

Karl: Back in 1991, you talked about how military action in Iraq would be the classic definition of a quagmire. Have you been disturbed to see how right you were? Or people certainly said that you were exactly on target in your analysis back in 1991 of what would happen if the U.S. tried to go in —

Cheney: Well, I stand by what I said in ‘91. But look what’s happened since then — we had 9/11. We’ve found ourselves in a situation where what was going on in that part of the globe and the growth and development of the extremists, the al Qaeda types that are prepared to strike the United States demonstrated that we weren’t safe and secure behind our own borders. We weren’t in Iraq when we got hit on 9/11. But we got hit in ‘93 at the World Trade Center, in ‘96 at Khobar Towers, or ‘98 in the East Africa embassy bombings, 2000, the USS Cole. And of course, finally 9/11 right here at home. They continued to hit us because we didn’t respond effectively, because they believed we were weak. They believed if they killed enough Americans, they could change our policy because they did on a number of occasions. That day has passed. That all ended with 9/11.

If someone can explain how and why this makes sense, I’m anxious to hear it. White House critics like to joke about the Bush gang overusing “9/11 changed everything” as a rationalization that justifies anything, but Cheney’s comments today seem to be unusually vapid.
He “stands by” what he said in 1991? Maybe Cheney is confused about what the phrase “stands by” means, but it suggests he still agrees with the remarks he made when he insisted that invading and occupying Iraq would be a “classic definition of a quagmire.” In the next breath, however, there’s 9/11.

It seems, in all sincerity, that Cheney was arguing that the 9/11 attacks justify the quagmire he predicted 16 years ago. Why? Just because.

If Cheney had said he was wrong in 1991, there would at least be something resembling coherence here. He thought Iraq would be a mess if we invaded, but we invaded, and lo and behold, everything is going great.

But that’s not what he said. Cheney argued that he was right before and right now, despite the fact that the two Cheneys appear to contradict each other.

I’m starting to think the Vice President isn’t well. "

I think the new slogan for the White House, and its surrogates, should be: "If you say it with conviction you can say whatever you want. No one will notice."

They used to be right most of the time. Unfortunately some things are getting so bad that they can not get away with it as much.

Reality strikes, whether you live in it or not.


Leo said...

"If you say it with conviction you can say whatever you want. No one will notice."

I have seen so much of that philosophy in business. It is so true people will believe if you say it with passion. I know that I believed them. I don't know if they were lying but they were wrong. God will judge, hopefully He will allow some more of the evidence to leak out so that these mistakes are not repeated.

Too bad that the old boy did not take his own advice.

Andrew said...

I think he did believe. I just think he fell into the trap of listening to those who spoke with conviction, on only one side of the issue. Too many advisors were from the American Enterprise Institute. They were either neo-cons who believed in radical, rather than incremental, change, or they were from the defense, or petrolium, indistry. They saw profit.

I remember hearing about FDR. He welcomed opposing viewpoints. He would interview many people with different takes on an issue. Often his advisors would argue in front of him. He was cautious yet decisive.

I pray our current President starts using this decision making methodology. As you and I know, we can disagree with respect and agree with satisfaction, joy, or relief.