Interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America, Dick Cheney was pressed by Martha Raddatz about Iraq. His answers were characteristically obtuse and defiant. One exchange stood out for its arrogance:
Q Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.To sum up: Bush's presidency is comparable to Lincoln's. The Iraqi civil war is equivalent to the American Civil War. And the fact that since 2004 a growing majority of Americans have consistently thought it was wrong to invade Iraq? That constitutes a "fluctuation" in opinion polls.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So?
Q So -- you don't care what the American people think?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there. And this President has been very courageous, very consistent, very determined to continue down the course we were on and to achieve our objective.
Oh, and the American public be damned. So little does Cheney think of the public's right to have a say in matters of war and peace under a 'democracy', in fact, that he's ready to substitute his own opinion for ours.
Even though he doesn’t care what the American public wants, Cheney still thinks he is able — and entitled — to speak for the American public. Last month, Cheney declared, “The American people will not support a policy of retreat." If Cheney were actually listening to the “American people,” he would know that 61 percent actually supports the redeployment of U.S. troops.The ABC interview displays Cheney in all his perversity. For example, Raddatz pressed him about whether there are ever any consequences to the failure of the Iraqi government to achieve anything, or does the U.S. just keep going and going no matter what the Iraqis do. Cheney's response was "You do it as long as you have to until you get it right."
Cheney also expresses certainty of "victory". Why? Because Cheney has had a hand in things.
I am confident because I've worked over the years with both the Iraqi people that are involved, as well as the Americans that are involved...Cheney was asked why the rest of America is not having to make sacrifices as the troops and their families are.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think -- I'm not sure how you would have involved them to a greater degree. We've made this probably the most important priority of our administration. We talk about it all the time.Cheney also had one of those 'nobody-could-have-predicted' moments:
Q What sacrifice have most Americans made?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think they've been asked to support the effort and the enterprise.
Q Tell me whether you imagined at this point five years later whether there would be 4,000 lives lost; whether it would last this long?Finally, a candid admission of incompetence from this administration. None of them foresaw what they were getting us into when they began the war.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I didn't have any way five years ago -- we didn't have any way five years ago to estimate what the final cost would be. We knew it would be difficult. I think it's gone on -- insurgency lasted longer than I would have anticipated.
Q And certainly you predicted.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Anyone predicted. I think that's true of most of our people who looked at it.