Cheney on Iraq Bloodbath:
"Exactly The Right Thing To Do"
Vice-President Lashes Out At Senator Edwards For
by Michael K. Smith
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 Posted: 5:15 AM EDT (0915 GMT)
CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney proudly claimed
the Bush Administration's bloodsoaked record in Iraq as a success
story and blasted Senator John Edwards of North Carolina for having
an "undistinguished" record in the Senate in last night's Vice
Cheney insisted the world is safer today thanks to the widening
catastrophe in Iraq, which is proving a breeding grounds for Al
Qaeda terror that did not exist in the country prior to the U.S.
invasion. Cheney said if he had it to do all over again, he gladly
"It's important to look at all of our developments in Iraq within
the broader context of the global war on terror," Cheney said. This
includes the soaring popularity of Osama Bin Laden, growing legions
of recruits eager to serve his cause, and increasing hatred and
disgust with Washington throughout the world.
Cheney denied ever suggesting a link between Iraq and the terrorist
attacks of September 11, 2001. "I have not suggested there's a
connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established
Iraqi track record with terror." True enough. Iraq gassed Iran and
later the Kurds with the full support of the Reagan Administration,
whose Commerce Department arranged for Saddam Hussein to receive the
materials he needed for his WMD program. Washington also provided
satellite intelligence to help direct the gas attacks on Iran.
Reagan Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld was instrumental in
carrying out these memorable achievements.
Cheney insisted Halliburton was a non-issue. Under his reign as CEO
between 1995 and 2000, he and Halliburton clearly made the world a
much better place. They profited off of rebuilding Iraq's petroleum
industry, which Cheney had helped destroy as Secretary of Defense in
the first Gulf War. They worked closely with major human rights
violators like the governments of Burma, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea,
and the Congo. They passed their tax burden on to the American
people by quintupling Halliburton's subsidiaries registered in
offshore tax havens like the Cayman islands. They doubled the value
of Halliburton's federal contracts based on Cheney's government
connections and made Cheney a deliriously rich man. As for the U.S.
taxpayers, they got billed $750,000 for work Halliburton did for the
Pentagon that actually only cost $125,000.
Halliburtonıs federal taxes dropped from $302 million in 1998 to a
negative $85 million in 1999, that is, the company got an $85
million rebate that year. At the same time Halliburton received
$2.3 billion in government contracts and $1.5 billion in government
financing and loan guarantees. During his vice-presidential debate
with Joe Lieberman in 2000 Cheney insisted that the government had
had ³absolutely nothing to do² with his financial success. $3.8
billion = 0. I guess itıs that new math.
Based on such achievements, Cheney was on firm ground in accusing
Senator Edwards of having a "not very distinguished" Senate record.
It certainly is no match for Cheney's, which is in a class by
itself. As a Wyoming Representative from 1979 to 1989, Cheney voted
against the Equal Rights Amendment, against Head Start, against a
resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison,
against a holiday for Martin Luther King, against Meals on Wheels
for seniors, against government funded abortions for incest and rape
victims, against a ban on cop killer bullets, against restrictions
on plastic guns that could easily be slipped through airport
security, against safe drinking water standards, against
establishing the Department of Education, against a waiting period
for handgun purchases, and against imposing sanctions on apartheid
South Africa (but only 10 times).
Another career highlight for Cheney occurred when California spun
into financial disaster from a phony energy crisis induced by Enron.
Cheney had six meetings with Enron representatives, including two
with CEO Ken Lay, the last just six days prior to the companyıs
revelation that it had vastly overstated its earnings. While Enron
executives cashed out over $1 billion in company stock before the
day of reckoning, their employees lost their pensions and their jobs
- just in time for the Christmas season.
When he left Halliburton, Cheney received $13 million in severance
pay and left behind millions of dollars in losses from bad
investments, a spate of SEC investigations, and a pile of lawsuits,
not that there's anything wrong with that. The value of Halliburton
Cheney has also blessed the nation with his terrific sense of humor.
After the Bush Administration abandoned its campaign promise to
regulate carbon dioxide emissions Cheney said the promise had been a
mistake because carbon dioxide isnıt a pollutant. David Doniger of
the Natural Resources Defense Council commented: ³If carbon dioxide
isnıt a pollutant, maybe ketchup is a vegetable after all.² With
news like this, Jon Stewart will never have to write material.
Ecology is perhaps Cheneyıs strongest suit. When he was faced
with a series of potentially ruinous asbestos-related lawsuits at
Halliburton the company decided it should lobby for a change of law
rather than argue the cases in court. So Cheney and his company
shelled out nearly half a million dollars to congressional
candidates between 1997 and 2000, with $157,000 directed to 62
lawmakers who found it in their hearts to co-sponsor bills limiting
the liability of asbestos manufacturers. Democracy in action!
Cheney is a big fan of drilling for oil in the National Arctic
Wildlife Preserve, which can supply U.S. energy needs for weeks on
end. On the other hand, his Energy Task Force killed a plan to
increase fuel-efficiency standards, which would have saved 2.5
million barrels of oil a day - permanently.
Like all Republicans, Cheney cherishes family values, which is why
at the 2000 Republican Convention in New York City he would not
appear on the victory platform with his lesbian daughter. Of course,
his real family is Halliburton, Enron, Philip Morris, AT&T,
Microsoft, and the Pentagon.
Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George"
(illustrations by Matt Wuerker), available from Common Courage Press