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Liz Cheney Flips Media’s Script on Iraq War

Liz Cheney Flips Media’s Script on Iraq War

Knowing what we know now . . .

There has been a lot of hand-wringing over Jeb Bush’s seeming lack of readiness for a presidential campaign in the wake of his apparent inability to articulate a coherent response to Megyn Kelly’s Iraq War hypothetical question.

After days of hedging and backpedaling, Jeb finally landed on the “right” answer: “no, knowing what we know now, I would not have invaded Iraq.”  It shouldn’t have taken that long or that many tries because, as Charles Krauthammer notes in Friday’s Special Report panel, the question answers itself:

While Megyn Kelly did not ask a difficult or tricky question, it’s a question that pops up pretty consistently for GOP candidates from interviewers on both the left and the right, and it is usually the liberal media who manages to flummox GOP candidates.

Rand Paul provided a great template for turning this type of question back on Democrats when he flipped the script on abortion.

And now, Liz Cheney provides the perfect way to make this question about the Iraq War relevant:

This is exactly the kind of response we need from quick-witted and able Republican candidates.

Hopefully, Jeb will learn from this experience and be prepared to flip the script on the Iraq War question when it is asked again.  And it will be.


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I love Liz Cheney. She should have a place in the next administration. She thinks, and is a very fine lady.

Compare and contrast, as I like to say.

We have to push back against the narrative. One of the the ways is to demand live interviews instead of taped. George H. W. Bush was far from my favorite President, but he was brilliant in this exchange with Dan Rather.

This is more of what we need. Newt got the ball rolling by pushing back. This time around, Rand and Fiorina are beginning to run with it.

Push back. Be nice about it. Funny if possible, but firm.

    GrumpyOne in reply to windbag. | May 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Rather is and always will be a cockroach…

      Great imagery. A cockroach that will scurry away when the light exposes it. And a pest that needs to be squashed.

      Freddie Sykes in reply to GrumpyOne. | May 18, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Always was? Gee and here I thought his story began something like this:

      One morning, as Dan Rather was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.

    Skookum in reply to windbag. | May 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    No one in the media, not even Phone Bill, talks to Soetoro like that.

    Estragon in reply to windbag. | May 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Quite right. If that interview had been taped, none of the questions Bush knocked out of the park would have ever seen the air.

    Wallace and Schmidt’s greatest sin against Sarah Palin was not in their backstabbing leaks, but in allowing her to spend a whole day with Katie Couric and eight hours with Charlie Gibson, all on video, so the media vultures could pick out the moments which made her look the worst and air them.

    Live on the air, or no interview. Ever.

Newt Gingrich needs to hold a seminar for GOP candidates on how to handle the press. He is not intimidated by them. Seems like Liz Cheney could teach at this seminar too.

Sammy Finkelman | May 18, 2015 at 10:30 am

Does “KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW” mean knowing what happened later, in which case you can, and should say, the key things that went wrong happened after the invasion, mainly because Bush and Rumsfeld assumed that could be only one enemy?

Or does “KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW” mean knowing the true facts about Saddam Hussein’s weapons?

Was that knowable?

And does anyone know what would have happened had the invasion not taken place?

Isn’t the most probably right answer maybe that the invasion would have, or should have, taken place but things afterwards would have been done completely differently?

And Saddam Hussein actually had let al Qaeda use a portion of Iraq in the north, and that was the start of all that, plus Bashir Assad in Syria.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    …and then there were those thousands of trucks carrying “stuff” to Syria for several months prior to the beginning of hostilities and subsequent invasion of Iraq.

    What were they carrying? Baby formula?? Aspirins???

    One might suppose that broadcasting your attentions prior to going to war is wise but I think not so in view of the fact that there appears to be no shortage of WMD in Syria…

      Henry Hawkins in reply to GrumpyOne. | May 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Zackly, Grump. The US intention to invade Iraq was known in… October? November?… of 2002, but did not commence until March 2003.

      This is like a prosecutor telling a local drug dealer today that he’ll execute a search warrant on his house next October. Who would expect to find any drugs?

        Sammy Finkelman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        But the issue was Saddam Hussein proving he didn’t have them, and letting his scientists be interviewed, which he refused to do.

        Bush said or almost said Saddam Hussein could prevent an ionvasions by coming clean on his WMD’;s but Saddam evidentaly didn’t believe that.

        He had another plan maybe.

        Convince Bush and Rumsfeld that he had them, so they put all U.S. troops in chemical warfare gear, which meant he couldn’t start his invasion after it got warm – which meant he couldn’t wait past about April 1.

        Meanwhile hide his weapons from anyone else, and the best way to make sure they wouldn’t be found would be to get rid of them. (I presume Putin had a hand in convinving him of this strategy)

        Saddam knew that Bush’s invasion plan involved coming, in part from Turkey. he also knew Bush intended to wait until the last minute.


        Bribe members of the Turkish Parliament to back out at the last minute.

        And voila!!

        Bush must cancel the invasion – at least till the fall.

        Only Bush went ahead without using Turkish territory.

        It turned out Turkish territory was more important for diplomatic than military reasons.

        Saddam Hussein outsmarted himself (unless Vladimir Putin had a hand in this)

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to GrumpyOne. | May 18, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Yes, some of it is beleived to have gone to Syria – which would mean Saddam hussein mad ethe same mistake in 2003 that he did in 1991, when he sent many of his military planes to Iran, which didn’t return them.

      But, anyway, although maybe the news hasn’t penetrated too much, they did find chemical weapons in Iraq, but they kept it a secret, as the New York Times has reported in the past year.

      More further down.

      I’ll make that a separate message not a reply because it is too long.

    Creditman in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    This question is a test and always has been.

    The answer is “Hindsight is always 20-20”

    The reason that the politicos flunk the test question is because they in general have very little common sense.

Sammy Finkelman | May 18, 2015 at 10:35 am

What can be said was that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was not the most serious long term threat to the United States and the world. Iran and North Korea, the other two members of George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil” would have ranked higher.

But they were not as easy to do.

And of course, actually Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China were problems, and maybe we can mention Russia.

Not to mention all kinds of problems in Africa, by people with low access to high-tech, and comparitively little money.

Jeb, the dumbest of the Bushes. – Mark Levin

Midwest Rhino | May 18, 2015 at 11:10 am

Republicans are being beaten into submission, forced to give an answer that essentially claims, going into Iraq (and Afghanistan?) was a wrong decision, almost affirming the “Bush lied, people died” leftist mantra. Why give them that?

A more direct answer than Liz’s might be: “You mean knowing radical Islam sympathizer Obama would stand down everywhere, surrender our gains, beat a hasty retreat against military advice, support Muslim Brotherhood power in the region, sell out Israel and other allies, refuse to bomb ISIS at their most vulnerable, and make a path for Iran to get the bomb?”

“Knowing what we know now, we should have gone in but fully won that war earlier, done the surge earlier, and gotten the SOFA, before Obama/Hillary could surrender that for which our men died”.

Answers need to express the interest we had/have in establishing something other than Obama/Hillary’s nuked up caliphate in the region. ISIS is a creation of Obama Doctrine, the doctrine that America is the problem and if we just retreat, Islamic peace will fill the void. The correct answer needs to be “we can’t know what would have happened if we did not go into Iraq, we only know what did happen when Obama surrendered and failed miserably”.

The only politically correct answer is to say “No”. But I’d sure like to have a real military person answer in the affirmative with a breakdown of how we could have had a different outcome looking back with that 20/20 hindsight the question presumes.

The “gotcha question” only asks “would you have gone in”, but speculating in fairy tale land means we can speculate on a more successful approach. We can go back in time and tell Romney to be more aggressive in the debates with Obama’s lies on Benghazi and energy, then President Romney gets the SOFA and there is no ISIS. In the land of do overs and mulligans, there are many ways to make the Iraq war a success, why limit the hindsight question to just, go in and get these results, or don’t go in at all? That is a “gotcha” that defaults to “blame Bush”.

Iraq was not so close to nukes, but Greenspan advised going in to keep oil (and the post 9/11 economy) flowing freely, in the pre-fracking era of ME oil dependance. And the real deals we had with the Saudis and others are above my pay grade, but I’d guess involved Iran nukes as well. I don’t think Iraq’s nuke program was the whole or even main reason we went to establish a base, but that is what sells on retail level of presidential politics I suppose. So in our more libertarian era, all viable candidates are saying unequivocally “NO”.

But if speculation is allowed in this public court, why not offer some different kind of speculatin’? Speculate on Hillary establishing ISIS and a coming caliphate, and how much worse things could get with Hillary’s international charity obligations.

Didn’t have Saddam Hussein have 500 metric tons of yellow cake? I guess that was to make mud pies or something. Oh, the Polish Army found 25 liters of sarin. I don’t know if that is a particularly deadly amount to have around but I bet you don’t touch it without a ‘spacesuit’ on. Oh, weren’t there tons of old chemical weapons from the war with Iran piled up somewhere. I wonder if you play with that stuff without a ‘spacesuit’ on?

    Hurricane in reply to Hurricane. | May 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Too many haves, comes from typing with one finger.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Hurricane. | May 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    He had yellowvcake.

    Which means he did not need to buy any from Niger.

    That forgery was actually probably done by Iraqi intelligence.

    Saddam;s nuclear program was dormant, which most people thought was probabky the case.

    It was dormant, however, ONLY because of the contininous possibility of U.S. bombing, should he ver take it out of mothballs, and because the sanmctrions limited the amount of money available to him.

    The sanctions weer fading away. Tere was a movement to lift them until Geirge W. bush raise dthe issue.

    Had he not invaded, maybe by 2005 or 2007 or 1009, the sanctions could have bene lifted, the no fly zone abolished.

    The U.S. and some allies had kept up the pressure on Iraq for a dozen years.

Sammy Finkelman | May 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm

In 2005 and later somebody was selling some of Saddam husxseins chemical weapons, bit by bit, to the U.S. government, but this was kept secret.

They didn’t want to cut off the deal.

Some that weren’t sold, were used against American troops, but it was all kept a secret and there’s a problem now with troops getting recognitoion for their injuries.

The New York Times found 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers who were exposed to nerve or mustard agents after 2003. American officials said that the actual tally of exposed troops was slightly higher, but that the government’s official count was classified.

See also:

What The New York times’ Paul Krugman says today is that theer – he claims deliberate – confusion between nuclear weapons and chemical weapons, with both of them being called Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Sammy Finkelman | May 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Here’s more (You know this Iraw debnate is so misinformed, in so many different ways)

The purchases were made from a sole Iraqi source who was eager to sell his stock, officials said. The amount of money that the United States paid for the rockets is not publicly known, and neither are the affiliations of the seller….

…The Iraqi seller would then periodically notify the C.I.A. in Baghdad that he had more for sale, officials said.

The agency worked with the Army intelligence battalion and chemical weapons specialists, who would fly by helicopter to Iraq’s southeast and meet the man for exchanges.

The handoffs varied in size, including one of more than 150 warheads. American ordnance disposal technicians promptly destroyed most of them by detonation, the officials said, but some were taken to Camp Slayer, by Baghdad’s airport, for further testing.

One veteran familiar with the program said warheads were tested by putting them in “an old cast-iron bathtub” and drilling through their metal exteriors to extract the liquid sarin within.

The analysis of sarin samples from 2005 found that the purity level reached 13 percent — higher than expected given the relatively low quality and instability of Iraq’s sarin production in the 1980s, officials said. Samples from Boraks recovered in 2004 had contained concentrations no higher than 4 percent.

In the difficult calculus of war, competing missions had created tensions. If documenting chemical weapons delayed the destruction of explosive weapons that were killing people each week, or left troops vulnerable while waiting for chemical warfare specialists to arrive, then reporting chemical weapons endangered lives.


In 2004, Charles A. Duelfer, who led the Iraq Survey Group, a task force established by the C.I.A. after the American-led invasion, published a lengthy compendium on the state of Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs, which included sections describing the American recovery and destruction of a small number of chemical warheads and shells that year. An early 2005 addendum updated the information.

The United States then fell nearly silent as troops encountered more chemical shells, publicly releasing only snippets in 2006. By then, the number of encounters with chemical weapons in improvised bombs had increased. Soon more troops were wounded by them, as secrecy prevailed….

…Further, the United States declined to share precise locations for the recoveries of chemical munitions. “U.S. representatives indicated that the exact locations are considered sensitive,” the report said….

The Pentagon has said the exigencies of war required that the weapons be destroyed hastily and in the open.

Liz is correct, but the answer to the original question is still yes, it was the right decision.

REMEMBER, in his UN speech before invading, Bush laid out SEVEN criteria for deposing the regime by force, only ONE of which directly involved WMDs (and the “yellow cake” line was just additional support for that ONE). Saddam was in serial violation of the Gulf War ceasefire AND the several UN Security Council Resolutions he agreed to accept to end the war.

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Incidentally, by the numbers, Saddam was also history’s #5 all-time mass murderer, following only Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot.

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No less of opponents of the war Obama and Biden both claimed Iraq was a success, and safe and stable, in 2010-ll.

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The mistakes in Iraq were in the first years of the occupation, and then cutting and running like yellow-bellied Democrats.

Thank You, Liz!! Daughter of Cheney the Great!! Iraq is(and has been)on FIRE due to Obama’s shameless, loathsome ABANDONMENT of the Victory he was bequeathed there. Soooooooooooooo, Lefty Stooges in the MSM and any Democrats on the Hillary Brigade, “knowing what we know now of the catastrophe following Obama’s Retreat from a peaceful, stable, blossoming Republic..”, would you betray all that American blood and sacrifice that brought those millions of purple voting fingers of Sunni and Shia at peace with each other?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!