Dick Cheney has been pounding the conservative media circuit lately promoting his latest
book effort at revisionist history, “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America,” co-authored by his daughter Liz. Cheney has also been pounding the pavement telling anyone who will listen to him that the nuclear deal with Iran is a mistake – essentially the end of American civilization as we know it.
However, as The Washington Post reported last week, “It is far from clear that Cheney’s arguments, calcified in the intervening years, wield much influence anymore, even within his own party, or that they should. Rather than a slugfest, this feels like a swan song.”
And Fox News, once a place of refuge for Cheney and his ilk, seems to have grown weary of the former vice-president (and apparent revisionist historian) as well.
Megyn Kelly pretty much shredded Cheney in a June 2014 interview in what Fox News later described as “an accountability moment for the ex-veep.”
Kelly began by paraphrasing liberal Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman who reported earlier that week about Cheney and Iraq:
There is not a single person in America — not Bill Kristol, not Paul Wolfowitz, not Don Rumsfeld, no pundit, not even President Bush himself — who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney.
And now, as the cascade of misery and death and chaos he did so much to unleash rages anew, Cheney has the unadulterated gall to come before the country and tell us that it’s all someone else’s fault, and if we would only listen to him then we could keep America safe forever. How dumb would we have to be to listen?
Kelly then asked: “The suggestion is that you caused this mess, Mr. Vice President. What say you?” As Fox News reported at the time, Cheney gave his standard defense of the wars, replying:
I think we went into Iraq for very good reasons. I think when we left office, we had a situation in Iraq that was very positive… What happened was that Barack Obama came to office, and instead of negotiating a stay behind agreement, he basically walked away from it.
Kelly came back and slammed Cheney, telling him:
But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’ Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?
Most recently, Cheney appeared on Fox News Sunday and was “grilled about his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal by Chris Wallace.” During the interview, Cheney attempted to blame President Obama for “walking away from the Middle East” and creating a “huge vacuum,” but Wallace called him out, asking: “In fairness, didn’t you leave President Obama with a mess?” The interview started with Wallace questioning Cheney’s assertion that Obama’s deal with Iran was akin to Neville Chamberlain appeasing Adolph Hitler in Munich in 1938. Cheney refused to back down, responding:
If you look at what happened with respect to [Obama’s] Iranian deal, the only winners are Iranians. The losers are the United States, are the friends and allies of the United States in the region, the Israelis the Saudis and others. I think it’s a big deal, a major, major defeat — in my mind — in terms of our position in the region.
Wallace responding by pointing that Cheney had failed for eight years to address Iran’s nuclear program:
You and President Bush, the Bush-Cheney administration, dealt with Iran for eight years, and I think it was fair to say that there was never any real, serious military threat. Iran went from zero known centrifuges in operation to more than 5,000. So in fairness, didn’t you leave — the Bush-Cheney administration — leave President Obama with a mess?
I don’t think of it that way. There was military action that had an impact on the Iranians, it was when we took down Saddam Hussein. There was a period of time when they stopped their program because they were scared that what we did to Saddam, we were going to do to them next.
Wallace continued his attacking, stating: “But the centrifuges went from zero to 5,000.” Cheney persisted, wrongly noting: “Well, they may have well have gone but that happened on Obama’s watch, not on our watch.” “No, no, no,” Wallace responded, adding that “By 2009, they were at 5,000.” “Right,” Cheney conceded and tried to salvage the interview by insisting: “But I think we did a lot to deal with the arms control problem in the Middle East.”