4
Aug
2005

Cheney: Americans would be "greeted as liberators"

Vice President Dick Cheney, who predicted on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, that Americans would be "greeted as liberators," has in recent weeks been peddling a new line of spin.

If Cheney was not in charge of U.S. foreign policy, he could be dismissed as a ranting lunatic. But, because of his title, and because the former Secretary of Defense is the dominant player in the Bush administration when it comes to military policy, Cheney has to be taken seriously -- as seriously, that is, as his bizarro worldview permits.

Unfortunately, the primary reason to take Cheney seriously is the fact that Americans and Iraqis are dying because of the policies he has promoted. And, of course, because those same policies are emptying the U.S. Treasury into the quagmire that is Iraq.

So it is appropriate to try and hold Cheney accountable.

And it is not difficult to do so.

Here is what Cheney said during a June 20, 2005, interview on CNN's Larry King Live:

Hailing what he described as "major progress" in Iraq, Cheney said, "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

Here is what the Associated Press reported from Iraq on August 3, 2005, less than two months after Cheney asserted that the insurgency was fading away:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Fourteen U.S. Marines and a civilianinterpreter were killed Wednesday in western Iraq, the U.S. command said.

The Marines, assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2,
2ndMarine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), were killed in action early Wednesday when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, the military said. One Marine was also wounded in the attack.

The Associated Press report goes on to note that:

The latest losses come on the heels of the deaths of seven U.S. Marines in combat two days ago in the volatile Euphrates Valley of western Iraq. The American deaths come as the Bush administration is talking about handing more security responsibility to the Iraqis and drawing down forces next year.

At least 39 American service members have been killed in Iraq since July 24 - all but two in combat. In addition, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said that since the beginning of April, more than 2,700 Iraqis - about half of them civilians - had been killed in insurgency-related incidents.

It looks as if the last throes that Cheney was discussing with Larry King have turned out to be death throes for the young American men and women who are serving in Iraq, as well as for the Iraqi people.

Any attempt to address Cheney's rhetorical excesses brings to mind the words of a young veteran from another misguided and unnecessary war.

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?" young John Kerry asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Cheney has come up with a contemporary answer for that question. How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

For Cheney, that's simple: Just keep telling the young men and women who are marching to their deaths that they will be greeted as liberators and that the enemy is so weak that it is in its "last throes."

In other words, just keep spinning a slurry of fantasy and lies into U.S. policy.


Doug Haddix
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