Fox News’ Megyn Kelly confronted former Vice President Dick Cheney after he and his daughter, Liz, published an op-ed blasting President Barack Obama over his handling of Iraq. The pair wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “rarely” has a president ever been “so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”
Kelly proceeded to list some of Cheney’s claims and pronouncements from his time at the White House that included: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, U.S. soldiers would be “greeted as liberators,” the insurgency was “in its last throes” in 2005, and extremists would have to “rethink their strategy of jihad” after the U.S. intervention.
Kelly said, “But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well, sir.”
“Now, with almost 1 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?” Kelly questioned.
Cheney defended the Bush administration’s actions in Iraq.
“Well, I just fundamentally disagree…,” Cheney said. “You’ve got to go back and look at the track record. We inherited a situation where there was no doubt in anybody’s mind about the extent of Saddam’s involvement in weapons of mass destruction. We had a situation where, after 9/11, we were concerned about a follow-up attack. It would involve not just airline tickets and box cutters as the weapons but rather something far deadlier, perhaps even a nuclear weapon.”
Kelly pointed to a response to the op-ed from The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman, who wrote there hasn’t been a “single person” who has been “more wrong and shamelessly dishonest” on Iraq than Cheney.
“The suggestion, then, is that you caused this mess, Mr. Vice President,” Kelly said. “What say you?”
“Well, obviously I disagree,” Cheney said. “I think we went into Iraq for very good reasons.”
Their op-ed also sparked a dismissal from the White House.
“Which president was he talking about?” the outgoing WH Spokesman Jay Carney deadpanned during his final White House briefing.
“Look, it’s obviously always good to hear from former Vice President Cheney,” Carney added. “It’s pretty clear that President Obama and our team here have distinctly different views on Iraq from the team that led the United States to invade Iraq back in 2003.”
Now the UK’s Telegraph reports that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria extremists in Iraq have taken control of what was once Saddam Hussein’s chemical-weapons production facility, which still has a stockpile of old weapons. The weapons at the Al Muthanna complex are contaminated and hard to move, a U.S. official said.
Nonetheless, the capture of the stockpile by the forces of the ISIS has grabbed the attention of the U.S.
“We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site…,” Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, wrote in a statement. “We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials.”
During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, Hussein used the Muthanna complex to make chemical weapons, including sarin, mustard gas, and the nerve agent VX, according the Iraq Study Group, which conducted the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in the aftermath of the war.
“Two wars, sanctions and Unscom oversight reduced Iraqi’s premier production facility to a stockpile of old damaged and contaminated chemical munitions (sealed in bunkers), a wasteland full of destroyed chemical munitions, razed structures, and unusable war-ravaged facilities,” the ISG’s 2004 report concluded.
U.S. officials repeatedly emphasized the takeover of the chemical weapons stocks do not mean a significant military gain by ISIS.
“The only people who would likely be harmed by these chemical materials would be the people who tried to use or move them,” said a military official.
As CBS News’ Rebecca Kaplan’s most recent articles’ headline opines: “Who got it wrong on Iraq? Depends on who you ask.”