Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cheney: A Heartbeat from the Presidency

The evidence simply grows that Dick Cheney is one of the most dishonest and short-sighted public officials ever to reach office. Here's a part of Tim Russert's interview on Meet the Press (via the Huffington Post):

(Videotape, August 26, 2002):

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

(End of videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: In fact, there is grave doubt, because they did not exist along the lines that you described, the president described, and others described. Based on what you know now, that Saddam did not have the weapons of mass destruction that were described, would you still have gone into Iraq?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Yes, Tim, because what the reports also showed, while he did not have stockpiles--clearly the intelligence that said he did was wrong. That was the intelligence all of us saw, that was the intelligence all of us believed, it was--when, when George Tenet sat in the Oval Office and the president of the United States asked him directly, he said, "George, how good is the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction?" the director of the CIA said, "It's a slam dunk, Mr. President, it's a slam dunk." That was the intelligence that was provided to us at the time, and based upon which we made a choice.

MR. RUSSERT: So if the CIA said to you at that time, "Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction, his chemical and biological have been degraded, he has no nuclear program under way," you'd still invade Iraq?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Because, again, look at the Duelfer Report and what it said. No stockpiles, but they also said he has the capability. He'd done it before. He had produced chemical weapons before and used them. He had produced biological weapons. He had a robust nuclear program in '91. All of this is true, said by Duelfer, facts. Also said that as soon as the sanctions are lifted, they expect Saddam to be back in business.

MR. RUSSERT: All right. Now the president has been asked, "What did Iraq have to do with the attack on the World Trade Center?" and he said "nothing." Do you agree with that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: I do. So it's not...

MR. RUSSERT: So it's case, case closed.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We've never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11.

MR. RUSSERT: And the meeting with Atta did not occur?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don't know. I mean, we've never been able to, to, to link it, and the FBI and CIA have worked it aggressively. I would say, at this point, nobody has been able to confirm...

MR. RUSSERT: Then why, in the lead-up to the war, was there the constant linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: That's a different issue. Now, there's a question of whether or not al-Qaeda, or whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11. There's a separate--apart from that's the issue of whether or not there was a historic relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The basis for that is probably best captured in George Tenet's testimony before the Senate Intel Commission, an open session, where he said specifically that there was a pattern of relationship that went back at least a decade between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Cheney is a profoundly flawed man who never misses an opportunity to mislead people. Nor does he show any sign of learning from his numerous blunders, not just in the last six years, but over a lifetime. The sooner Cheney's powers are checked, the safer our country will be.

Note: Apologies for the light posting but the last week has been hectic. I hope to return to normal by Tuesday or Wednesday.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Am I mistaken, or did Tenet make his "slam dunk" remark in response to a question about the likelihood of a quick, successful invasion of Iraq with the locals happy to see us? Maybe I've been laboring under a misperception.

In any case, between what Cheney doesn't know and has no intention of being open and honest about, you've got a black hole for credibility.

I predict that beginning in 2008 we're going to enter a 10- to 20-year period during which we will learn how pervasive Cheney's influence and exercise of power really was throughout the New Dark Age of Bush.

With those revelations, I suspect we'll learn it's been an ongoing horse race between Cheney and the president, to see who could outdo the other in perpetrating excesses of foolhardiness, stubbornness and incompetence.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I've always been skeptical of the Tenet story which depends on what the context was in the first place, assuming it happened the way it's been reported. Given how profoundly dysfunctional the Bush Administration has proven itself, I'm actually surprised Tenet has been as quiet as he's been about what exactly happened during his tenure.

As for Cheney, here's a perspective. A smart president wants a variety of advice, maybe even bad advice as a kind of litmus of how far one can get off track. There have been advisers since Roosevelt who have given badly flawed advice and usually guys like that are ignored. If they stay in office, it's because they have other things they're good at. General MacArthur was one person like that; a poor global strategist but otherwise a reasonably good general.

Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and a number of others have been around for years. The more we learn, the more we find out that they gave truly poor advice in prior administrations but, as I said, they were generally ignored. The Bush Administration is the first presidency in the modern era to listen to well-qualified idiots.

5:02 PM  

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