Jon compares the eerily prescient Dick Cheney of 1994 with the Dick Cheney of today.
It's really amazing to contrast these two Cheneys. The latter Ceney would argue that "9/11 changed everything," but what did Saddam have to do with those attacks? According to President Bush, nothing. Whatever else you might say about Dick Cheney, he is not a dumb guy. The 1994 Dick Cheney was dead on about what would happen if we toppled Saddam Hussein. Hell, even Bush 41 and Brent Scrowcroft advanced the same argument back in 1998. Other than having a President whose strings you can pull, what else could have changed Cheney's world view since then? I wonder....
Check below the fold for part of the 1994 Cheney interview:
Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?
Q: Why not?
A: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.
Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.
It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.
The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families -- it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?
Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.