Kudos to Bill O’Reilly for asking some tough questions of Dick Cheney tonight but there’s no doubt that Cheney got a pass on his excuses for invading Iraq that nobody on Fox would ever have given Obama. All you have to do is look at how they keep questioning and rehashing and rehashing Benghazi. In fact, O'Reilly condemned President Obama's handling of Benghazi earlier in this very show. A tragedy to be sure but nothing like the tragedy of the Iraq war. Unless you’re the Republican administration that waged it.
During the interview, O’Reilly asked Cheney, “What did we get out of Iraq?” O’Reilly immediately assured Cheney that he was on friendly ground as O’Reilly’s next words were, “I mean, as Americans, we’re all in it together. We’re all in it together. It’s easy to finger point… I don’t want to do that.” But, O’Reilly nonetheless added, “we spent a trillion dollars on this, with a lot of pain and suffering… What did we get out of it? Beside Saddam being out of there.”
Cheney responded by saying, essentially, that Saddam Hussein was a threat with access to weapons of mass destruction. Cheney said, “But remember what we were faced with in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. We had a lot of evidence, they indicate, that in fact Al Qaeda was trying to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. We had in Saddam Hussein a guy who had produced and used weapons of mass destruction.”
O’Reilly interrupted. “OK …I don’t blame you – you, Vice President Cheney or President Bush for doing what you did. I’m not Monday morning quarterbacking.,” he assured Cheney again. “But right now, what did we get out of Iraq for all that blood and treasure? What did we get out of it?”
Cheney replied by going back to WMD’s. He said, “What we gained – and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups, like Al Qaeda, equipped with weapons of mass destruction. With nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein, we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.”
O’Reilly pushed back somewhat by saying, “But they’re back! Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is back!” But that was more of an opening for Cheney to attack President Obama’s handling of the Middle East than any real challenge to Cheney’s WMD spin. Even though he was supposedly in the No Spin Zone.
Cheney seized the opening. He said, “That’s right. But they wouldn’t be if they’d followed our policies that we they laid out for ‘em when we left.”
But Cheney, no doubt mindful that his own record may play a part in his daughter’s senate run, went back to the WMDs. He said:
We took down Saddam as a major source. Five days after we got Saddam, Muamar Qaddafi announced he was going to surrender his nuclear materials. And he had centrifuges, he had a weapons… he had uranium feedstock. And after we took care of that, we took down A. Q. Khan, who was his major supplier, the Pakistan program that was running a black market operation. We put him out of business. We got rid of three major sources of potential (weapons of mass destruction).
O’Reilly never pointed out how then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had said, “We know where they are,” referring to Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, nor how we had been told the war would probably not last six months. I guess because we’re all Americans. So long as we’re all Americans under a Republican administration.
I didn’t watch the video, but I assume O’Reilly asked that question?
Okay, I realize that BOR is not really a journalist, not really “fair & balanced” and not even a good interviewer. But, for crying out loud, not to ask Cheney about the WMD debacle?! Clearly the cowardly BOR knows on which side his bread is buttered. As one of the folks, I just gotta say, “Gee, thanks for nothing, Billy boy.”
CHENEY, 2003: " From the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."