Chamblee54

Greeted As Liberators

Posted in Undogegorized, War by chamblee54 on September 28, 2018

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One thing that PG likes to do is investigate “things he has always heard”. With google, you can often find the source, and a few things more. Some urban legends are tough to trace, often because they don’t exist. Others pop up 575k results is .49 seconds. This is a repost.

The myth PG was chasing was the notion that government officials said our army “will be greeted as liberators” in Iraq. On March 16, 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney was on Meet the Press.

MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately,… The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

There are a few things to say 15 years later. Why did the Vice President have this much power? The VP is supposed to dedicate buildings and go to funerals. Dick Cheney was clearly a very powerful man, and he was not elected to that job.

Mr. Russert, rest his soul, seems to have gotten one detail wrong. The conquest of Baghdad went smoothly, with relatively few American casualties. It was the occupation that would be “long, costly, and bloody… with significant American casualties.”

There probably were many Iraqis who welcomed the change, Clearly, Mr. Hussein had some enemies, and there were some who did see the invasion as liberation. There were others who did not. Players in other countries saw an opportunity to come to Iraq and make trouble. The regime that was changed had many employees, who were bumped out of jobs. “The people of Iraq” were no more a monolithic force, all acting the same way, as the people of America would be if they were invaded.

Even if the Americans were “greeted as liberators”, there would be many challenges. The country had no experience in dealing with democracy. The different ethnic groups did not like each other. Sunnis were seen as having been privileged, and many were looking to settle the score. It seems obvious that these problems were not anticipated.

There is a debate in The United States about the use of torture. It seems apparent that “enhanced interrogation” was used extensively in Iraq and elsewhere. The use of torture would seem to be an admission that we were not greeted as liberators.

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