With the proliferation of New Media in politics it has become abundantly clear that in the 21st Century no President, pundit or policy wonk is immune to the intense scrutiny of their own statements—whether made 13 days or 13 years ago. This became all too clear, once again, when Vice President Dick Cheney’s unusually prescient outtake on the “quagmire” in Iraq became ubiquitous on YouTube and Google video, providing fodder for anti-war bloggers and mainstream “traditional” media types. The video, taken from an interview from April 15th, 1994, shows the former Secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush explaining why invading Iraq after America’s victorious Operation Desert Storm would have been a terrible idea. Of course, we all have a right to change our minds, but what’s so striking about this clip is how every prediction Cheney makes is on the money (destabilizing factors contributed to Iranian and Syrian influence; Kurdish aspirations for autonomy; American casualties; power vacuum after Saddam’s fall). The Republican response to these self-incriminating statement by Cheney has been pretty much the Republican response to just about everything over the six years—9/11. According to the Republican Party the attacks of Sept. 11th changed everything and, therefore, justifies every single Republican policy disaster made from here to eternity (wiretapping, preemptive war, suspension of habeas corpus). Of course, there was one other minor detail in Cheney resume between 1994 and present which may have contributed to his change-of-heart: his controversial tenure as CEO for energy behemoth and military contractor Halliburton. Of course, Cheney denies any ties to the corporation who once paid him $20 million just to retire, but is there any reason why we should believe anything this guy says anymore.
Vice President Dick Cheney on Iraq