Concluding our trilogy of Republicans who we shouldn’t take seriously on Iraq, patient zero in the series has to be former Vice President Dick Cheney. His total lack of credibility in this issue notwithstanding, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial by Cheney, titled “The Collapsing Obama Doctrine: Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” in which he blasted the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq. It’s an article so completely loaded with irony, contradictions and hypocrisy that it’ll be difficult to unpack without bloating this post into a novel-length volume.
Right off the bat in the first paragraph, Cheney — Dick Cheney of all people — accused President Obama of making three false statements about terrorism in the context of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
1) Obama: “If a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Obama wasn’t referring to ISIS when he said this. He was referring to small jihadist cells with little or no affiliation with al-Qaeda.
2) Obama: “[C]ore al-Qaeda is on its heels, has been decimated.” This is mostly true, at least in terms of what Obama has accomplished since Cheney and Former President Bush left office (see also Osama Bin Laden). He specifically said “core al-Qaeda,” not branch affiliates or other groups. Furthermore, Cheney recently praised Obama’s drone policy against terrorists. Among others killed by the Obama administration in drone and other attacks include: “Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the No. 2 to current leader Ayman al Zawahiri; Sayeed al-Masri, No. 3 in the hierarchy; and Abu Ayyub al Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
3) Obama: “So, let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding.” This is also empirically true. The small deployment to Baghdad this week aside, the broader Iraq War ended in 2011, and the Afghanistan War is quickly wrapping up.
Worse yet, Cheney in his very first sentence exaggerated the number of Iraqi soldiers executed by ISIS. Cheney said “thousands,” plural, implying two thousand or more. The best estimate is actually 1,700. “More than a thousand” or “just under 2,000″ would’ve been more accurate in a paragraph intended to nitpick the allegedly inaccurate statements of the president.
And what about Cheney’s demonstrably false statements about Iraq alone?
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”
“We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s.”
“[Hussein] also had an established relationship with al Qaeda, providing training to al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases, making conventional bombs.”
“There’s overwhelming evidence there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.”
“My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. I think it will go relatively quickly, weeks rather than months.”
“I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.”
According to one study, top Bush administration officials made 935 false statements about Iraq. 48 of those were attributed to Vice President Pants-On-Fire.
Okay, so that was the first paragraph… READ MORE