Wednesday, January 24, 2007


via TPM, this interview with Dick Cheney is indeed, as Marshall puts it, a "doozy." There's a lot of boilerplate bullshit (it is Dick Cheney, after all) but let's single out some of the biggest nuggets of bovine excrement:
Q: How worried are you of this nightmare scenario, that the U.S. is building up this Shiite-dominated Iraqi government with an enormous amount of military equipment, sophisticated training, and then in the end, they're going to turn against the United States?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Wolf, that's not going to happen.
What, because history never repeats itself, ever? That's just an incredibly stupid statement. On the other hand, Cheney does seem to recognize there's a difference between Persian and Arab Shia, which is a level of insight I hadn't expected from the man. Later on:
out of Afghanistan, because we walked away and ignored it, we had the attack on the USS Cole, the attack on the embassies in East Africa, and 9/11, where the people trained and planned in Afghanistan for that attack and killed 3,000 Americans. That is what happens when we walk away from a situation like that in the Middle East.

Now you might have been able to do that before 9/11. But after 9/11, we learned that we have a vested interest in what happens on the ground in the Middle East.
You're kidding, right? The US didn't have interests "on the ground" in the Middle East before 9/11? Like US support for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the rest of the Gulf states just sort of materialized out of the ether on September 12, 2001? Not only is this historically illiterate, it's dangerous: for Cheney to believe this is for him to ignore the fundamental nature of Islamic grievance. They hate the US because of the attention the US has paid to the region, not in spite of it.
Q: What was the biggest mistake you made?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Oh, I think in terms of mistakes, I think we underestimated the extent to which 30 years of Saddam's rule had really hammered the population, especially the Shia population, into submissiveness. It was very hard for them to stand up and take responsibility in part because anybody who had done that in the past had had their heads chopped off.
How out of touch with reality can you be, really. The US is mired in an insurgency in Iraq, fueled by nationalism and Islamist rage. Iraqis are killing US soldiers on a daily basis. But to Cheney, the populace is too "submissive", they won't stand up against their enemies. Memo to the Vice-President: The Iraqis are standing up against their enemies. You're the enemy. Pray you never find yourself alone in the slums of Sadr City.

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