Really, he was! That is, if we point to 1991, when he said this:
What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi’i government or a Kurdish government or Ba’athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.
But the new narrative emerging as Cheney pursues his “told you so” comeback tour is that he was right all along about how he had won the Iraq war and then Obama lost it. Weigel plumbs the depths of the derpitude:
Boy, the phrase “all along” is asked to do some heavy from-the-knees lifting there. All along? The timer starts four years after the start of the Iraq war, and two years after Cheney insisted, pre-surge, that Iraqi insurgent groups were in their “last throes”? Yes, that’s the new rule.
We are to analyze the situation of 2014 by crediting the Bush administration not for the Iraq war, but for post-surge Iraq. This has been the argument since 2011, when the Obama administration failed to extend the three-year status of forces agreement that (to the satisfaction of hawks) Bush had handed to him. The theme at the time, as Charles Krauthammer put it, was that Obama was“handed a war that was won,” and he blew it.
Dreher has no time for such nonsense:
Three out of four Americans in 2011 wanted the president to withdraw all US troops from Iraq. Read the Gallup poll; how soon, and how conveniently, we forget. You cannot keep US soldiers in a hopeless war with 75 percent of the country against that policy. Gallup’s poll numbers show that even though the percentage of Americans in 2014 who believe total withdrawal was the right thing is down to 61 percent, that’s still a strong majority. President Obama did what the Iraqis would allow him to do — it’s their country, after all — and what the American people wanted him to do.
This Bush prophecy business is b.s. through and through. It’s important to say that now, because Dick Cheney, one of the principal architects of one of the worst disasters in US foreign policy and military history, is now making an “I Told You So” tour, back in Washington (a standing ovation at AEI!) spreading his wisdom to appreciative conservative audiences. It’s like they let Bernie Madoff work on Wall Street again, or returned the FEMA portfolio to Brownie.