Cheney in '00: Invading Baghdad Would Make Us "An Imperial Power" [VIDEO]
Recently an unearthed CSPAN video of Dick Cheney (then a former defense secretary and considering a '96 run for the White House) from 1994 where he quite reasonably and intelligently argued that invading Baghdad following the Gulf War would have let to a "quagmire" has exploded on the web. The footage has gathered so much steam, and pissed off so many Americans, Cheney's press people were confronted about his inconsistency. The best defense Cheney's defenders could muster: "He was not vice president at the time." Good one guys. Of course they fail to acknowledge that more recently, in August 2000 to be exact, Cheney again repeated the logical position that invading Baghdad would not be worth the loss of lives, money and stability in the Middle East.
Was he lying? Did 9/11 really "change everything"? What is with this guy? John Nichols of The Nation chats with Keith Olbermann and he argues that Cheney's thinking on Iraq has never changed privately even if it has shifted publicly. In '94 he didn't want to seem to hawkish when he was thinking of running for president and in '00 he didn't want to expose his ideology too much when campaigning to be the vice presidential nominee. Nichols feels that this reflects a political cynicism that he hasn't seen since Richard Nixon or maybe before too. This goes back to college in the early 60's where Cheney's old professors say he had a simplistic view of the world and dreams of unchecked presidential powers. He was simply giving the safe answers at a time when the public wouldn't have tolerated an invasion.