Today in a new interview with Politico, Vice President Cheney said that he is “confident” Iraq will eventually be in a “good” enough place that the administration will be able to look back and say, “That was the right decision. It was a sound decision going into Iraq.” When will that time be? According to Cheney, Jan. 2009:
But Cheney said that by the middle of January 2009, it will be clear that “we have in fact achieved our objective in terms of having a self-governing Iraq that’s capable for the most part of defending themselves, a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, a nation that will be a positive force in influencing the world around it in the future.”
All of that by 2009? “Yes, sir,” he replied.
The Bush administration has been pledging this flourishing democracy since the United States invaded almost five years ago. Some of Cheney’s promises:
We would act in that same spirit after a regime change in Iraq. With our help, a liberated Iraq can be a great nation once again. Iraq is rich in natural resources and human talent, and has unlimited potential for a peaceful and a prosperous future. Our goal would be an Iraq that has territorial integrity, a government that is democratic and pluralistic, a nation where the human rights of every ethnic and religious group are recognized and respected. [8/26/02]
RUSSERT: And you are convinced the Kurds, the Sunnis, the Shiites will come together in a democracy? [...]
CHENEY: I think the prospects of being able to achieve this kind of success, if you will, from a political standpoint, are probably better than they would be for virtually any other country and under similar circumstances in that part of the world. [3/16/03]
We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story. [6/24/05]
The progress we’ve seen in Iraq has been superb, and we can be confident going forward because the Iraqi people value their own liberty and are determined to choose their own destiny. … The victory of freedom in Iraq will inspire democratic reformers in other lands. [10/3/05]
According to the nonpartisan Freedom House, Iraq is still considered “not free,” with its “civil liberties rating” actually declining from the previous year. Privately, the White House is scaling back its “expectation of quickly achieving major steps toward unifying the country.” Gen. David Petraeus and Iraq Amb. Ryan Crocker have also stated that they foresee “a significant American role” in Iraq through 2009.
Of course, there’s reason to doubt Cheney’s prediction. This is the man who said we were in the “last throes” of “the insurgency” on June 20, 2005.