Friday, January 16, 2009

Were 104,500 Lives Lost In Iraq Worth It? Cheney: "I Think So"

PBS Newshour host Jim Lehrer recently asked Vice President Dick Cheney whether the war in Iraq was worth so much loss of life. The dialogue (h/t Think Progress):

Lehrer: But Mr. Vice President, getting from there to here, 4,500 Americans have died, at least 100,000 Iraqis have died. Has it been worth that?

Cheney: I think so.

Lehrer: Why?

Cheney: Because I believed at the time what Saddam Hussein represented was, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, was a terror-sponsoring state so designated by the State Department. … He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological agents. He’d had a nuclear program in the past. … And he did have a relationship with al Qaeda. […]

And so I think given the track record of Saddam Hussein, I think we did exactly the right thing. I think the country is better off for it today.

Note that Cheney expresses not a word of remorse about the deaths of 104,500 people. That's completely in character with a vice president who, after being told by ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, "Two-third of Americans say it's not worth fighting," replied, "So?"

Also reprehensible is the fact that Cheney continues making the same discredited justifications for the war. The Senate Intelligence Committee's findings in June 2008, as reported by The New York Times, contradicts Cheney's assertions:

It took just a few months after the United States’ invasion of Iraq for the world to find out that Saddam Hussein had long abandoned his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. He was not training terrorists or colluding with Al Qaeda. The only real threat he posed was to his own countrymen.

...The report shows that there was no intelligence to support the two most frightening claims Mr. Bush and his vice president used to sell the war: that Iraq was actively developing nuclear weapons and had longstanding ties to terrorist groups. It seems clear that the president and his team knew that that was not true, or should have known it — if they had not ignored dissenting views and telegraphed what answers they were looking for.

It was not just the dishonesty that was so reprehensible in the Bush administration; it was also that this dishonesty, exemplified so callously by Cheney, was put at the service of an unnecessary war that resulted in the deaths of so many.


Anok said...

Oh, I watched that interview and I was literally yelling at the man.

Jeff Tone said...

Anok: It's hard not to, isn't it? Thank goodness we soon won't have to listen to any more Cheney interviews.

Naj said...

Reminds me of Albright's saying the SAME thing when confronted with the number of 500,000 Iraqi children who died from sanctions ...