In a new interview with ABC News, Vice President Cheney claimed that the the case for war had nothing to do with whether Saddam Hussein had WMD; America would have invaded anyway. Today on MSNBC’s Hardball, right-wing commentator Frank Gaffney defended Cheney’s remarks, saying that the “real reason” the Bush administration wanted to invade Iraq was because Saddam was a “mortal threat” to the United States.
Host Chris Matthews was appalled that Gaffney seemed to feel no guilt or remorse than 4,000 Americans died because of the right wing’s mistakes. Gaffney replied that while it was “regrettable” anyone had to die, they “did have to die”:
MATTHEWS: You guys sold the war as a nuclear threat to the United States. A nuclear weapon was going to be delivered by a nuclear delivery device. It was going to take the weapon and drop it here. You sold every trick you could to get us into this war. Now you’re back pedaling. And I do find it astounding. The Vice President of the United States is —
GAFFNEY: How do you feel, Chris?
MATTHEWS: This is how I feel. Four thousand people are dead because of how you feel. And Frank, you’re wrong about this because you don’t even seem to care your facts were wrong.
GAFFNEY: Chris, there were —
MATTHEWS: You admit your facts were wrong and it doesn’t bother you.
GAFFNEY: May I state my position rather than you stating it? May I do that? My position is that it’s regrettable that any Americans died. It is regrettable that they had to die, but I believe they did have to die.
Four thousand Americans didn’t die in Iraq because they had to. They died because of the Bush administration’s hubris. Matt Yglesias explains:
The harsh reality is that this was not a noble undertaking done for good reasons. It was a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards. And it’s seen as such by virtually everyone all around the world — including but by no means limited to the Arab world.
But it’s impolitic to point this out in the United States, and it’s clear that even a president-elect who had the wisdom not to be suckered in by the War Fever of 2002 has no intention of really acting to marginalize the bad actors. Which, I think, makes sense for his political objectives. But if Americans want to play a constructive role in world affairs, it’s vitally important for us to get in touch with the reality of what the past eight years of US foreign policy have been and how they’re seen and understood by people who aren’t stirred by the shibboleths of American patriotism.