On the heels of Father’s Day, we get a Wall Street Journal missive from none other than Dick and Liz Cheney, the father-daughter duo. Really?
For those who thought they had seen the last of Liz and her ill-fated and absurd challenge to Republican Sen. Mike Enzi from Wyoming, the state she hardly lived in and didn’t know, she’s back! And Dick, who can’t resist a diatribe to justify his ill-fated and disastrous policy in Iraq, has never learned to zip it.
The worst part is the supposed substance of their piece: Iraq is all Obama’s fault. He is “willfully blind,” “he goes golfing,” “he abandoned Iraq,” he is guilty of “simple -minded appeasement.” The Cheney team’s conclusion: “President Obama is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.”
There is absolutely no discussion of the dynamics of the Middle East in their article. There is no mention of the deeply religious conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. There is no mention of the Kurds. There is no substantive exploration of the involvement of other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran, in this conflict. There is not one reference to policy options that should be considered in response to the attack by terrorist groups associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL or ISIS.
In short, this is an article devoid of substance, let alone a reasonable discussion of public policy.
So, aside from being a vitriolic attack against President Obama, why did they write it? The answer is pretty straightforward, I think. The Cheneys are trying desperately to justify the unjustifiable.
Dick Cheney lied to get us into Iraq: weapons of mass destruction; Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11; the people want us there; we’ll be greeted as liberators; chemical weapons are ready to be unleashed. On and on. Dick Cheney was one of the architects of one of the most extraordinary disasters ever in the history of American foreign policy: more than $1 trillion spent, thousands killed, a country destroyed. Al-Qaida was not present in Iraq before the invasion, but what about now? Because of the Bush-Cheney policy, we created more terrorists than we could ever have dreamed of killing.
The line from Dick and Liz that is truly astounding, and they seem most proud of, is: “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” It is truly sad that they don’t recognize that such a line applies so much more completely to them and what they did. Their preferred policy was a complete disaster, and most people know it.
President George Herbert Walker Bush surely understood, when he wrote these words in his book about the policy decisions he made on Iraq back in the early 1990s: “We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. ... There was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."
Yes, Mr. and Ms. Cheney, and that is precisely what you did and what you recommend now. A disaster then, a disaster now.