Senate Democrats

STAYING THE COURSE WITH CHENEY AND RUMMY

The long-running show that the critics panned but Bush keeps on the air.

Today, President Bush announced that he will be staying the course and keeping Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on board as members of his Administration. Americans have grown tired of the Cheney-Rumsfeld show. On the day when Bob Barker of “The Price is Right” calls it quits, the duo who have been always wrong keep at it. A recap of their greatest hits on Iraq shows why it’s time for this show to be cancelled.

Episode 1: “Shell Game/Misleading on Pre-War Intelligence”

Rumsfeld: “There Are Al Qaeda in Iraq.” When asked if there was “hard evidence” that Al Qaeda was in Iraq, Rumsfeld replied, “Oh, there’s no question but that al-Qaeda have–have moved through [Iraq] and some have–have stayed.” [NBC Nightly News, 8/1/02]

Cheney Says There is “No Doubt” Hussein Has WMD. “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” [Remarks at VFW 103rd National Convention, 8/26/02]

Episode 2: “It’s in the Bag/Rosy Predictions on Iraq”

Rumsfeld Doubts Iraq War Will Last Six Months. “It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” [Town Hall Meeting at Aviano Airbase, 2/7/03]

Rumsfeld: Let’s Go Fly a Kite. AThink of the faces in Afghanistan when the people were liberated, when they moved out in the streets and they started singing and flying kites and women went to school and people were able to function and other countries were able to start interacting with them. That’s what would happen in Iraq.@ [Media Roundtable, 9/13/02]

Cheney Says We Will Be Welcomed as Liberators. “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.@ [Meet the Press, 3/16/03]

Episode 3: “2 for the Price of 1/Who Needs Allies?”

Rumsfeld Says Allies Won’t Delay U.S. Invasion of Iraq. A month after publicly referring to France and Germany as “old Europe” because of their anti-war stance, Rumsfeld “pledged that the European allies’ tactic would not delay any military action.” [Knight Ridder, 2/12/03]

Episode 4: “Clearance Sale/Disbanding the Iraqi Army”

Rumsfeld Disbanded the Iraqi Army: “Asked whether it [disbanding the Iraqi Army] was Rumsfeld’s call, Douglas Feith, a top Rumsfeld aide, says, ‘You could say that.'” [Time, 12/21/03]

Ignoring Military Experts, Disbanding the Iraqi Army Led to Sectarian Strife. Thomas Ricks describes a meeting of military experts who met at the Army War College and warned the Pentagon: “In a highly diverse and fragmented society like Iraq, the military . . . is one of the few national institutions that stresses national unity as an important principle. To tear apart the army in the war’s aftermath could lead to the destruction of one of the only forces for unity within the society.” Ricks recounts that the report was disregarded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. [Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, p. 73]

Episode 5: “Switcheroo/Blame the Press”

Rumsfeld: “Henny Penny!” “I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn’t believe it. I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. And it just was Henny Penny–“The sky is falling.” I’ve never seen anything like it! And here is a country that’s being liberated, here are people who are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they’re free. And all this newspaper could do, with eight or 10 headlines, they showed a man bleeding, a civilian, who they claimed we had shot–one thing after another. It’s just unbelievable how people can take that away from what is happening in that country!” [Defense Department Briefing, 4/11/03]

Cheney: Bombs Create Misperceptions. “There’s a constant sort of perception, if you will, that’s created because what’s newsworthy is the car bomb in Baghdad; it’s not all the work that went on that day in 15 other provinces, in terms of making progress towards rebuilding Iraq.” [PBS, NewsHour, 3/22/06]

Episode 6: “Shopping Spree/Halliburton”

Rumsfeld’s Office Repeatedly Intervened to Give Cheney’s Former Company, Halliburton, No-Bid Contracts. “A top Army Corps of Engineers official charged Monday that Halliburton Co. was able to receive no-bid contracts for work in Iraq because of repeated assistance by the office of the secretary of Defense.” [LA Times, 6/28/05] This report came after Rumsfeld said he was not aware of any overcharging: “[t]here has not, to my knowledge, been any overpayment, and I wouldn’t want your comment to leave these good folks with a misimpression.” [Remarks to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12/12/03]

Episode 7: “That’s Too Much/Blame the Troops”

Rumsfeld Infamously Blamed the Army for His Failed Iraq Strategy. “[Y]ou have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want” [CNN, 12/9/04]

Special Assistant to Secretary Rumsfeld Tells Rumsfeld His Post-War Planning is “Screwed Up”. “At the Pentagon, on Thursday, December 5, 2002, in the middle of the most intense invasion planning for Iraq, Steve Herbits walked into Rumsfeld’s office. “You’re not going to be happy with what I’m going to tell you,” he said…Herbits continued. “Now that I’ve got your attention, you have got to focus on the post-Iraq planning. It is so screwed up. We will not be able to win the peace.” [State of Denial, Bob Woodward, p. 103]

Episode 8: “Danger Price/Body Armor”

Rumsfeld Asserted There Was More than Enough Body Armor. “There’s been a little bit of misunderstanding about the body armor. There always has been ample amounts of body armor.” [Interview with Roger Hedgecock, 6/30/04]

More Than One-Third of the Army in Iraq Lacked Modern Body Armor Eight Months After the War Began. Nearly 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, more than one-third of the total force there, still lacked modern body armor eight months after the war began, according to acting secretary of the Army Les Brownlee. The U.S. military had expected that only “forward combat elements” would need body armor, not “the rear troops, the logistics forces,” Brownlee explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee on November 19, 2005. They hadn’t expected an insurgency that placed all the troops at risk of coming into close contact with the enemy. [The Washington Post, 6/18/06]

Episode 9: “Push Over/Rumsfeld Still Doesn’t Get It”

Secretary Rumsfeld Says Americans Should “Relax,” Understand that the Situation in Iraq is “Complicated.” “So you ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it’s complicated, it’s difficult.” [Press Conference, 10/26/06]

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