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Cheney On Whether Iraq War Was Worth The 4,500 Americans Killed: ‘I Think So’

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Think Progress
Thursday, Jan 15, 2009

In an interview airing tonight on PBS’s Newshour, host Jim Lehrer asks Vice President Cheney about the U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in the war in Iraq. Cheney shows little remorse:

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

(Article continues below)

Cheney On Whether Iraq War Was Worth The 4,500 Americans Killed: ‘I Think So’ 161008pptv2

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Cheney’s comments mirror those of other conservatives, such as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who said that the lives lost in Iraq have been a “small price” to pay, and right-wing commentator Frank Gaffney, who declared that all these troops “did have to die” in Iraq.

The United States did not invade in Iraq because Saddam “had a nuclear program in the past,” nor did he have a relationship with al Qaeda. We went to war because Bush administration officials made everyone believes that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction at that time and an active relationship with al Qaeda. The Iraq war has decimated the readiness of the U.S. military, radicalized insurgents in the Middle East, and strengthened many of America’s enemies. As David Sanger of the New York Times notes, the war also “occupied so much of the attention and the resources of the top levels of the U.S. government that we ignored much bigger threats, short-term and long-term.” Matt Yglesias has also written:

The harsh reality is that this was not a noble undertaking done for good reasons. It was a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards. And it’s seen as such by virtually everyone all around the world — including but by no means limited to the Arab world.

Evidently, all this was worth losing more than 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis.

Transcript:

Q: 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.

Q: 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 was making payments to the families of suicide bombers. He provided a safe haven and sanctuary for Abu Nidal and other terrorist operations. He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological agents. He’d had a nuclear program in the past. He killed hundreds of thousands of his own people. And he did have a relationship with al Qaeda.

We’ve had this debate that keeps people trying to conflate those arguments. That’s not to say that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. It is to say as George Tenet, the CIA Director, testified in open session in the Senate, that there was a relationship there that went back 10 years. This was a terror-sponsoring state with access to weapons of mass destruction. And that’s the greatest threat we faced in the aftermath of 9/11, that the next time we found terrorists in the middle of one of our cities, it wouldn’t be 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters, it would be terrorists armed with a biological agent, or maybe even a nuclear device.

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.

This article was posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 11:23 am





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