Friday, August 17, 2007

cheney's 1994 remarks, in context.

Amazingly, the media has actually taken a newly surfaced and increasingly infamous clip of Cheney from 1994 and run with it. In the clip, from a CSPAN interview in 1994, Cheney explains Bush senior's reasons for not pursuing the broken remains of the Iraqi Republican Guard through Basrah and into Baghdad in 1991:

Predictably, John Stewart was the first to excoriate the veep, and then the veep's biographer, for the supposed hypocrisy and deceitfulness that this clip implies. However, this clip should have come as no surprise to observers of the first Bush administration and the rise and fall of the neo-conservative movement.

Four years after this interview, Bush senior and his NSA Brent Scowcroft wrote a book called A World Transformed, which they used as a platform to deflect the same criticism that gave rise to the interviewer's question above:
Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under the circumstances, there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different — and perhaps barren — outcome.
See, it wasn't enough for the neocons that Bush senior peacefully managed the fall of the Berlin wall, or legitimized the United Nations as a framework for post-Cold War military intervention. Hell, to chickenhawk neo-conservatives those two accomplishments were actually probably pretty disappointing. No, they wanted their pound of flesh from Hussein, and howled and howled after Bush senior didn't deliver it to them.

Given that Cheney was Bush's Secretary of Defense during the first Gulf War, it is easy to imagine why he still would have maintained a non-invasion posture regarding Baghdad: personal loyalty to his old boss and the manner in which they had prosecuted that war. At the time he was also considering a presidential bid against Clinton in 1996, and his platform would have necessarily been based on his record under Bush senior.

So what happened between 1994 and his tenure as vice president that would make him change his mind so? The knee-jerk wingnut response is to invoke 9/11: remember, the world would never be the same and all that. But that alone does not explain why Cheney and his pal Rumsfeld worked so hard to make an invasion of Iraq inevitable, even before 9/11. Why would Cheney, given his demonstrated knowledge of the likely consequences of such an invasion, have worked so hard to shape the intelligence and steer public opinion toward it? It's not as if there wasn't a perfectly violent bloodletting underway in Afghanistan already. Again, what happened to Cheney between 1994 and 2003?

One word: Halliburton. The year after the 1994 interview, Cheney took over the helm of Halliburton and stayed there until campaigning with Bush junior five years later. It is probably sufficient to note at this point that Halliburton is primarily an oil company, that Iraq is second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of known oil reserves, that 90% of Iraq is still unexplored, and that the world is thirsty for the stuff like never before, at a time when it has become more demonstrably finite than ever before. But all of that is too obvious.

Let's get to the heart of the matter:
As secretary of defense in the first Bush administration, Cheney helped to lead a multinational coalition against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War and to devise a comprehensive economic embargo to isolate Saddam Hussein's government. After Cheney was named in 1995 to head Halliburton, he promised to maintain a hard line against Baghdad.

But in 1998, Cheney oversaw Halliburton's acquisition of Dresser Industries Inc., which exported equipment to Iraq through two subsidiaries of a joint venture with another large U.S. equipment maker, Ingersoll-Rand Co.

The subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co., sold water and sewage treatment pumps, spare parts for oil facilities and pipeline equipment to Baghdad through French affiliates from the first half of 1997 to the summer of 2000, U.N. records show. Ingersoll Dresser Pump also signed contracts -- later blocked by the United States -- to help repair an Iraqi oil terminal that U.S.-led military forces destroyed in the Gulf War.


But U.S. and European officials acknowledged that the expanded production also increased Saddam Hussein's capacity to siphon off money for weapons, luxury goods and palaces. Security Council diplomats estimate that Iraq may be skimming off as much as 10 percent of the proceeds from the oil-for-food program.
It's not sexy, but connect the evil little dots and the context for understanding how Cheney could have gone from his position in 1994 to his position on Iraq in 2000 distills down into one four letter word: greed.

What conclusions should be drawn from this? I'll let Sean Penn say it for me:

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Grasping the full scope of Cheney's deceptions

Greetings Swifty and all,

Want to understand just how deceptive and duplicitous Cheney and crew really are? Read the article at the "read more" link below to prove that he was saying one thing publicly, while actively planning both 9/11 and the Iraq war (PNAC, etc.). The key point here is that the Iraq war was planned before 9/11 occurred, so any assertions that 9/11 changed their thinking are blatant lies. Connect the dots...

Follow the links in the article and be prepared to have your head spin...