Cheney Defends Iraq War

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Cover of Dick Cheney’s memoir
Source: www.msnbc.msn.com (accessed Sep. 1, 2011)

During a stop on his book tour promoting In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Iraq War in an interview on NBC News’ Today. He told host Matt Lauer, “I certainly supported it. I advocated it. I thought it was the right policy. I believe that still today.”

Regarding international support for the war, Cheney said, “I don’t think that [the Iraq war] damaged our reputation around the world. I just don’t believe that. I think the critics at home want to argue that. In fact, I think it was sound policy that dealt with a very serious problem and eliminated Saddam Hussein from the kind of problem he presented before.”

In an Apr. 15, 1994 interview with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Dick Cheney had argued against a US invasion and occupation of Iraq. He said, “Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.” ProCon.org has collected over 20 separate statements by Cheney on the Iraq War.

Despite President Obama declaring an official end to combat operations in Iraq a year ago yesterday, American troops still remain in Iraq. According to a Status of Forces agreement ratified by the Iraqi parliament on Nov. 27, 2008, the last American troops are required to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. June was the deadliest month for US troops in Iraq since 2008, with 15 US service members killed. A US military spokesman told NBC News that there are still 14 attacks per day on average in Iraq, down from 200 in 2007.

The nonpartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting issued its final report to Congress on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, completing a three year investigation into the use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report stated, “At least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud in America’s contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much more will turn into waste as attention to continuing operations wanes, as U.S. support for projects and programs in Iraq and Afghanistan declines, and as those efforts are revealed as unsustainable.”

Sources:

Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, “Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling Costs, Reducing Risk,” www.wartimecontracting.gov, Aug. 2011

Courtney Kube, “Year After ‘End’ of Iraq Combat, Peril on the Ground for Americans,” www.msnbc.msn.com, Aug. 18, 2011

Scott Stump, “Cheney: I Don’t Think Iraq War Hurt U.S. Reputation,” www.msnbc.msn.com, Aug. 30 2011

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