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Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Friday, July 25, 2003
Cheney like Bush
Yesterday's speech on Iraq by U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney is exactly the dishonesty we all should have come to expect from the Bush Administration. It only stands out because Cheney asks two questions that deserve a response.
Now the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone forever. And at a safe remove from the danger, some are now trying to cast doubt upon the decision to liberate Iraq. The ability to criticize is one of the great strengths of our democracy. But those who do so have an obligation to answer this question: How could any responsible leader have ignored the Iraqi threat?All that Cheney gives in this speech, and all that the Bush Administration has ever given, about the "Iraqi threat" is a bunch of false analogies and implications that are empirically false. Unless the Bush Administration knows something very significant about the "threat" Saddam Hussein's now deposed regime posed to the U.S. posed to the U.S. that they haven't revealed, there was no threat. In short, the "Iraqi threat" could have been ignored because it didn't exist.
For the sake of the argument, let's say that Saddam's regime did pose a threat to the U.S. If that were the case, how could a "responsible leader" like U.S. President George W. Bush not do anything about the threat until after more than two years of being in office? And why is Cheney so confident the threat has been dealt with? Saddam has yet to be caught or accounted for and the same is true of his alleged weapons of mass destruction and programs to build such weapons. How do we know he isn't working with some of "the terrorists" right now to attack the U.S. with such weapons?
The second question is even more amusing:
Critics of the liberation of Iraq must also answer another question: what would that country look like today if we had failed to act?Cheney answers his own question in the speech - Iraq would be presumably be the same right as it was before Operation Iraqi Freedom. The insinuation is that this is unacceptable, but the Bush Administration was willing to accept this reality until they started talking about Iraq being a "threat." Furthermore, in a world where terrible things happen all of time, what makes Iraq so important? Why is the definitive accomplishment of making the world a better place by the U.S. not stopping support for repressive governments but replacing a government that the U.S. had not had much influence on for over a decade? Cheney doesn't even attempt to answer these obvious questions.
The full report of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 can be found here.
"President Bush today directed the Pentagon to position a limited number of Marines off the coast of Liberia to facilitate the arrival of West African peacekeepers as fighting raged in Monrovia and conditions deteriorated for the Liberian people," Vernon Loeb of The Washington Post writes today. "Defense officials said a three-ship Amphibious Ready Group with 2,200 Marines led by the helicopter carrier USS Iwo Jima would arrive in the region from the Mediterranean in early August, about the time the first battalion of Nigerian peacekeepers is planning to go into Liberia." The key parts:
A senior U.S. official later explained that there had been no "hard decision" on whether U.S. troops would actually go into Liberia. But he said the troops would not engage in any peacekeeping mission.***