Dick Cheney knew exactly what was going to happen in Iraq if we invaded and argued against it. Indeed, the Iraq War played out exactly as Cheney described it in 1991, 1992 and in the video below from 1994. However, now he wants to tell the world how the Iran deal is bad.
On April 29, 1991 Cheney told attendees at the Washington Institute’s Soref Symposium that the idea of going to war in Iraq was a bad idea:
I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we we’re going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we’d have had to hunt him down. And once we’d done that and we’d gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we’d have had to put another government in its place. 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.
In August of 1992, Cheney echoed those sentiments at the Discovery Institute in Seattle:
And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we’d achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq…. Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq.
In the video below, Cheney once again echoed his earlier admonitions. The interview was conducted by Bruce Collins, the corporate vice president and general counsel of C-SPAN, on April 15th, 1994.
The video resurfaced in 2007 and was aired by C-Span 3 during a 12-hour Cheney marathon. Mary Ann Akers of the Washington Post published an article at the time detailing the “untold story” of the “Quagmire Video.” Akers reported that Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said she was not authorized to comment when asked what changed Cheney’s mind about invading Iraq between 1994 and 2003. Akers added that McBride did “direct them to an interview that ABC News conducted with Cheney in February  in which Cheney was asked how his views had changed from 1991, when he also spoke of military action in Iraq as a ‘quagmire.'”
“Well, I stand by what I said in ’91,” Cheney told ABC. “But look what’s happened since then — we had 9/11.”
BRUCE COLLINS: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?
DICK CHENEY: No.
COLLINS: Why not?
CHENEY: Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.
Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.
It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.
The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families — it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?
Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.