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August 13, 2007

“It’s a quagmire”
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:12 PM * 33 comments

Even Dick Cheney agrees: taking down Saddam’s government was a stupid idea.

(via The Agonist)

Q. Do you think the US or UN forces should have moved into Baghdad?

A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anyone else with us. It would have been a US occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

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 can easily see 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—fought over it for eight years. In the north you have the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey then you’ve threatened the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the hundred and forty-six Americans killed in action and for their families it wasn’t a cheap war.

And the question for the President in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was ‘How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?’ And our judgment was ‘not very many’ and I think we got it right.

Comments on "It's a quagmire":
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 04:23 PM:

As the alien said in Plan Nine from Outer Space...


#2 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Oh my god! The Dick is emboldening the enemy! But, in the dick's defense, this is from '94, and that's well before Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9-11.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Before anybody jumps Dan for that one, they should have a look at his weblog. He knows Saddam Hussein didn't attack us.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Bear in mind, Dan #2, that this was after the truck-bomb attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

#5 ::: CosmicDog ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Right, which is why the military spent the next next few years developing a plan to take down Saddam while maintaing the security and stability of Iraq (just in case it became neccessary). Of course, Cheney and Rumsfeld knew better and threw out the JoC's plan and came up with their own. And yet, they still refuse to recognize that their plan was flawed and incomplete. They made sure that we would be in Iraq for a least a decade or more. I'm still not sure why, if it was a simply a fuck-up or if they have something more to gain from this situation. I guess only time will tell.

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 06:30 PM:

They made sure that we would be in Iraq for a least a decade or more.

I don't agree. We could leave Iraq tomorrow if we wanted to. I doubt the place would be more screwed up afterward. Chaos is chaos.

How many dead Americans was Saddam Hussein worth? Not very many.

Saddam is dead. There are no WMDs. It's over. We won. Let's go home.

#7 ::: arto ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Reminds me of the old Daily Show bit featuring an Iraq war debate between President George W. Bush... and Texas Governor George W. Bush.

#8 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Thank you Teresa.

#9 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 09:46 PM:

Oh, I feel ill.

#10 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 10:10 PM:

Teresa @ 3, thank you for pointing that out, because I saw a commenter on another weblog say something very similar today, and not a single person called him out on it. (It was an old post, so I didn't call him out myself.)

Dan, from your tone I figured you were joking. But my satire radar overloaded and broke shortly after 9/11 and has never recovered, so I have to doublecheck all satire now, to make sure it's not real and I just don't want to believe it.

James MacDonald @ 6 -- that's what gets me the most. There is no solution. Either Iraq collapses with our soldiers, Marines, pilots, and sailors there getting killed -- or it collapses without them. Either way a whole lot of innocent Iraqis die. Neither one is acceptable at all. But what can we do?

#11 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 10:44 PM:

They made sure that we would be in Iraq for a least a decade or more.

Like Jim, I object to this use of language as untruth. We could withdraw from Iraq tomorrow and have everyone out in a month.

We always have choice. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise.

#12 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 11:34 PM:

Caroline @ 10

Either way a whole lot of innocent Iraqis are dying, at the rate of about 100 per day. There aren't even any bad choices here, they're all just about unspeakable.

#13 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 11:37 PM:

Greg London @ 11

What you mean we, Kimosabe? We who object to what our rather stale overlords have been doing don't get to control much of anything until January, 2009, if we're lucky.

#14 ::: Jason ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 02:54 AM:

Oh, all you Dick Cheney haters. This video clearly demonstrates that ol' Vice Prez is open-minded. He's flexible, you know?

If anyone ever accuses ol' Shotgun Cheney of being a closeminded-chickenhawk, backseat-overlord, executive-power-mongering,American-dictatorship-bolster neocon, well, good ol' supporters of ka-Chunk (that's the sound of a shotgun being cocked) Cheney can just point to this dazzling video of him being all open minded and stuff.

#15 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 07:52 AM:

Also, this is pre-implant Cheney (whatever they put n his chest), for what it's worth.

#16 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 08:45 AM:

Damned if they do, damned if they don't. The main point is: they're damned.

#17 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 09:46 AM:

this is pre-implant Cheney

Also, pre-Halliburton (he joined them in '95).

#18 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 10:12 AM:

More to the point, this was Cheney speaking in April 1994, eight months before the 1994 mid-term elections, and the "Republican Revolution" that installed a Republican majority in Congress.

So Cheney was still speaking from a reality-based viewpoint, rather than the post-1994 mindset where the idea of a "permanent Republican majority" (AKA absolute power) could start to dance in his head, along with the sugarplum fairies.

Newt Gingrich has a LOT to answer for.

#19 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 12 -- Yeah. "Unspeakable" just about says it. *sigh*

(Also, I have no idea where that superfluous capitalization in "Macdonald" came from. And after I was the one who got all uppity on the flamer-bingo thread about misspelling people's names.)

#20 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Perhaps there's a more parsimonious explanation:
Pump head

Honestly, his mind may have functioned better before his major health problems came up.

#21 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 05:19 PM:

#7 --- Is that clip in any archive anywhere? I want to print it and mount it, frame by frame, complete with comic-book talking balloons, in a continuous spiral around my living room...

#22 ::: Mike Hoye ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2007, 03:16 PM:

You know, when people talked about how it was OK to elect Bush because "the grownups" were going to be in charge, really, this is the sort of thing they were thinking about - sober talk about the real human costs of overreach and bad decisions. You listen to those same people talk now, and it's stunted and bizzare, like a telegram sent from inside a lunatic asylum. I have to wonder; what the hell happened?

#23 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Mike #22:

Because there is a popular delusion that business/corporate types are grownups. They're not. They seem to be very high-maintenance in terms of requiring adult supervision of their own. I don't know what they teach in MBA school, but it would porbably scare the living bejeezus out of me.

Look at the corporate ethos these days: short-term gains over long-term investment, use once (if at all) and then trash. Are these the actions of grownups? And yet the Bush Administration was touted as the apotheosis of corporate values. Should have seen that one coming.

#24 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2007, 05:42 PM:

See, from the first time I heard those war drums sounding, I've assumed the War on Iraq was always intended to make Shrub a Wartime President with all the "gimmes" that entails - including having a better chance of winning the 2004 election (as an aside, I consider saying GWB was re-elected in 2004 to be incorrect - one must first be elected to be re-elected, and the Supremes appointed him in 2000. But I digress...). Everything the Bush Administration has done since then has tended to reinforce that assumption.

#25 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2007, 11:42 PM:

What a fucking liar and asshole. This says a whole lot about the whole thing. And makes me more depressed and anxious about all the shit that is going on in government.


#26 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Spam from

#27 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 12:36 PM:


If mayonnaise is involved in any of this, I don't want to know how.

#28 ::: Serge sees HOT GIRL spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 12:36 PM:

Girls! Girls! Girls!

#29 ::: Fragano Ledgister spies spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Very smelly spam.
No redeeming social value.
Not pining for the fjords.
No fnords visible.

#30 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 12:39 PM:

Serge #28: To get Abi's attention you must write:

Meisjes! Meisjes! Meisjes!

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 12:51 PM:

Burls! Burls! Burls!

(Well, that'd be in keeping with McCain's bruised wood.)

#32 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 01:18 PM:

Serge #31: McCain's been taking advice from Dole?

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Fragano... I hope not. Timber!

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