The Cheney Road of Lies
Ok, I wanted to go through the Cheney debate transcript, and point out all the lies. Unfortunately I only got half way through the debate and gave up. It was too big a job!! Nearly every answer to every question, Cheney was lying. Anyway, read on if you dare, it is a long road to enlightenment :)
“Concern about Iraq specifically focused on the fact that Saddam Hussein had been, for years, listed on the state sponsor of terror, that they he had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with al Qaeda. Specifically, look at George Tenet, the CIA director‘s testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations two years ago when he talked about a 10-year relationship.”
Yes Saddam was paying $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers. These were Palestinians killing Israeli’s, this was not anti-American terrorism. Saddam did not have an established relationship with Al Qaeda. The 9/11 commission found that, as well as the CIA in their most recent report. George Tenent in his testimony did not say they had a ten year relationship, he said there had been contacts over a ten year period. Also, those contacts (according to the CIA and 9/11 commission) never led to any collaborative relationship.
“The effort that we‘ve mounted with respect to Iraq focused specifically on the possibility that this was the most likely nexus between the terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. “
This is laughable when you consider the two reports that came out in the last two days. The first was the final report of the U.S. Weapons Inspection team in Iraq, that concluded after a year of searching that there were no WMD in Iraq when we invaded, Iraq had not built any WMD since 1991, and their infrastructure for building WMD had been deteriorating since 1998. The other report was one commissioned by Cheney himself from the CIA, which recently AGAIN concluded that there was no evidence of any relationship between Saddam Hussein, Zarqawi and Al-Qaeda. So Iraq had to be invaded because it was the most likely place non-existent WMD might get into the hands on terrorists who had no relationship with Saddam. Ludicrous.
“The world is far safer today because Saddam Hussein is in jail, his government is no longer in power.”
Saddam was not a threat in any way to the U.S. before the war in Iraq, this has been proven conclusively and exhaustively. Without him in power, the U.S. is likely responsible for civil war in Iraq, thousands of new Al Qaeda recruits, and inflaming moderate Muslim opinion. We are not safer today, on the contrary, the world is a much more dangerous place today than it was when we invaded Iraq.
“They (Iraq) will have free elections next January for the first time in history.”
Virtually no-one believes this will happen, or if it does, they don’t believe they will be fair. Even Rummsfeld says he thinks that we can go ahead with the elections even if large parts of the country cannot participate. The U.N. is supposed to be organizing the elections, but they have only got 35 people there, they are being pressured by groups to pull out even those workers because of the danger that is posed to them, and Kofi Anan says that elections in January will be impossible.
“The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there‘s a connection between Iraq and 9/11”
This is also laughable. Cheney has been one of the main purveyors of the idea that there was a connection. At least three times on “Meet the Press” alone he has drawn this connection. Twice he did it by insisting that Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 plotters met with Iraqi intelligence officers right before the attacks. This has been disproved conclusively by intelligence agencies that place Atta in another country at the time. He also said on “Meet the Press” that Iraq was part of "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11” He has worked hard to draw that connection in people’s minds.
“Then, in the mid-‘80s, he ran on the basis of cutting most of our major defense programs.”
Kerry has voted against weapons systems. He has also voted for weapons systems. There were two defense programs he specifically ran against in the 80’s that had the highest profile, and that was the B-2 bomber, and Reagan’s Star Wars program. The B2 bomber was criticized by many because its initial rationale was a plane that could stealthily drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. Many criticized the expense when we already had intercontinental ballistic missiles. As for Reagan’s star wars programs, they were a joke to begin with, were never really going to work, and were a colossal waste of money. Here is a good review of Kerry’s voting record on this issue: http://www.slate.com/id/2096127/
It is also extremely hypocritical for Cheney and the Bush Administration to talk about the weapons systems Kerry has supposedly voted to cut, since many of them were also voted against by Cheney himself, some even in bills Cheney sponsored.
“we‘ve never let up on Osama bin Laden from day one. “
The Bush Administration lost focus on Bin Laden almost immediately after 9/11 when they decided that the real battle would be with Iraq. They started moving resources and focus from Afghanistan even before the country had been fully captured. Also, the war in Iraq withdrew focus, money and manpower from the hunt for Al Qaeda. One of the main reasons why we now have Saddam in prison, and not Osama. If we had spent the resources on fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, rather than diverting them to Iraq, we truly might be safer today, and we might have caught Bin Laden.
“John Edwards, two and a half years ago, six months after we went into Afghanistan announced that it was chaotic, the situation was deteriorating, the warlords were about to take over.”
What Edwards actually said was that Afghanistan was "largely unstable," with much of the country "under the control of drug lords and war lords”. At the time that was true, and in fact it is even true today. Drug production is up dramatically in Afghanistan, and the Karzai government doesn’t control huge swathes of the country. Karzai, the likely winner of Saturday’s presidential election, cannot even leave his compound to campaign!! He has left twice, and the first time his helicopter was shot at with a missile. If that is not chaotic, then I don’t know what is.
“we‘re four days away from a democratic election, the first one in history in Afghanistan. We‘ve got 10 million voters who have registered to vote, nearly half of them women.”
This is actually strange. The number of estimated eligible voters in Afghanistan is 9.8 million, so we already have more registered voters than eligible voters. Also, only 42% of the registered voters are women. Considering that we are already over the 9.8 million eligible voters, and the fact that women make up 50% of Afghan society, it means we have a huge number of fraudulent registrations amongst men, in the very least.
Basically this means that registration fraud is a HUGE issue.
“We‘re standing up Afghan security forces so they can take on responsibility for their own security.”
When the interim President of the country cannot even go out and campaign because he is shot at, the security is not being “stood up”. The central Government’s security forces don’t even control much of the country outside the capital, Kabul. Most of that is run by warlords and drug lords, just as Edwards suggested.
“We have President Karzai, who is in power.”
Over the capital city, which he can’t even travel around.
“Young girls are going to school.”
A recent study I read found that this was the exception not the rule. In most of the country, girls still do not go to school, because of religious objections. They are eligible to go now, but their families do not send them.
“When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they‘ve taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent.”
Edwards was talking about Coalition casualties, and in that case he is correct. However even if you want to include Iraqi police and soldiers, you cannot have any accurate idea as to the numbers, because the U.S. military doesn’t keep figures on Iraqi security deaths, and the Iraqi Government refuses to make these numbers public. So we have no way to verify Cheney’s numbers.
“With respect to the cost, it wasn‘t $200 billion. You probably weren‘t there to vote for that. But $120 billion is, in fact, what has been allocated to Iraq. The rest of it‘s for Afghanistan and the global war on terror”
He is in one way correct on this, but what Edwards is saying is that the cost so far for the war is $200 billion. We haven’t spent all that $200 billion yet, but Congress has set aside that much, and it is what is estimated to need to be spent over the next year. So the money is not available for other purposes, in my book, that means it has been spent and allocated.
“The allies have stepped forward and agreed to reduce and forgive Iraqi debt to the tune of nearly $80 billion by one estimate.”
The allies have not agreed to this at all. There are discussions around this, but so far they are still discussions. The U.S. wanted them to forgive the debt, but the Europeans countered by asking the U.S. to forgive the debt of poor third world countries in return. Their point was that if Iraq (with its vast oil reserves) deserves to have its debt forgiven, then those poor countries deserve it also. The arrangement has not been agreed upon or finalized.
Also, Cheney is using this figure to make the point that the Allies have contributed 80 billion towards the costs of the war. This is ridiculous. The U.S. costs are not in any way defrayed by this debt forgiveness, it is the Iraqi’s who owe this, not us. If they forgive this debt it will not help us to pay for the war in any way.
“That, plus $14 billion they promised in terms of direct aid, puts the overall allied contribution financially at about $95 billion, not to the $120 billion we‘ve got, but, you know, better than 40 percent. So your facts are just wrong, Senator.”
The $14 billion they promised is wonderful. However they have only actually contributed $1 billion of that.
“You voted for the war, and then you voted against supporting the troops when they needed the equipment, the fuel, the spare parts and the ammunition and the body armor.”
Kerry and Edwards did vote against one version of the bill that would have provided the money for these things. They voted against it because it provided no way to pay for the appropriations. Kerry and Edwards supported and voted for a competing version of the bill, that repealed a portion of the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans to pay for the Bill. Many Republicans voted against that version.
So basically they are being accused of voting against the troops, when what they were doing was voting for financial responsibility AND the troops against financial ruin and the troops. It is nuanced, but it is not really that hard to understand. Think about it.
“it‘s hard to know where to start; there are so many inaccuracies there.
The fact of the matter is the troops wouldn‘t have what they have today if you guys had had your way.”
This was in response to Edwards saying that Cheney had sent the troops to Iraq without the needed body armor in the first place. Actually, if Edwards and Kerry had got their way, they would have had the body armor and ammunition. The only difference is that the deficit would be smaller, and the wealthy would have less tax “relief”.
“You made the comment that the Gulf War coalition in ‘91 was far stronger than this. No. We had 34 countries then; we‘ve got 30 today. “
There is no comparison between the coalitions. All of Western Europe was involved in the first coalition, and they brought real military and financial support. We also had numerous Middle Eastern countries involved. This time round there are no middle eastern countries of note, and the coalition includes countries like Tonga. Even the one country that Bush kept talking about, Poland, has a very small contingent in Iraq, and is already planning on pulling them out.
“A CIA spokesman was quoted in that story (recent report on terrorism/Iraq link) as saying they had not yet reached the bottom line and there is still debate over this question of the relationship between Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein.”
The report is clear that there is no evidence of the relationship that Cheney wants you to believe exists.
“We know he (Zarqawi) was running a terrorist camp, training terrorists in Afghanistan prior to 9/11. We know that when we went into Afghanistan that he then migrated to Baghdad. He set up shop in Baghdad, where he oversaw the poisons facility up at Kermal (ph), where the terrorists were developing ricin and other deadly substances to use.”
Zarqawi was in Iraq. He was holed up in a camp in Kurdish territory. Under the U.S. no fly zone. Where we had told Saddam he could not send troops or we would destroy them. Saddam had no control over this area, and the idea that Saddam was harboring him is ridiculous. In fact, since our allies, the Kurds controlled this region, and it was within our no fly zone, the real question that should be asked is why did we not ask them to shut it down?? The only reason I can think of is because we wanted the camp to remain so we could use it as evidence against Saddam. Nothing else makes sense, and that makes us even more responsible for him being there than Saddam.
“We dealt with Iran differently than we have Iraq partly because Iran has not yet, as Iraq did, violated 12 years of resolutions by the U.N. Security Council. “
These are the twelve years of resolutions that called for Iraq to disarm its WMD programs, and get rid of its stockpiles. Which according to the U.S.’s own recent report by the Weapons Inspectors, they did. So they actually had lived up to the resolutions.
“And if they (Iran) aren‘t (living up to the nuclear requirements), my guess is then the board of governors will recommend sending the whole matter to the U.N. Security Council for the application of the international sanctions, which I think would be exactly the right way to go.”
Those sanctions which the Bush Administration claimed over and over would not work on Saddam. Why do they think that they will now work on Iran?
“One of the great by-products, for example, of what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan is that five days after we captured Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya came forward and announced that he was going to surrender all of his nuclear materials to the United States, which he has done. “
This had little if anything to do with the U.S.’s capture of Saddam. The Europeans had been negotiating and working with Gadhaffi on this issue, and they had promised him certain concessions if he complied. The Bush Administration wants you to believe that out of the blue Gadhaffi changed his mind when he heard Saddam was captured. It is simply not true.
“We‘ve made major progress in dealing here with a major issue with respect to nuclear proliferation. And we‘ll continue to press very hard on the North Koreans and the Iranians as well.”
Iran and North Korea have both improved their nuclear capabilities dramatically under the Bush Administration. They have done little if anything, so there is no “continuing to press hard”. In Iran they have abdicated the responsibility to the Europeans, and in North Korea they are abdicating the responsibilities to the Chinese. We have done very little.
‘Well, the reason they keep mentioning Halliburton is because they‘re trying to throw up a smokescreen. They know the charges are false. “
The charges are false?? Why then were they fined for their illegal actions? This is not something that is questionable, it is something that is established fact. The only piece of Edward’s comments that is still under investigation is the overcharging of the U.S. taxpayer by Halliburton in Iraq. That is currently under investigation, however as Edwards said, Halliburton is not even suffering the normal hold up of money until the investigation is complete, which is a normal requirement. As for bribing foreign officials and the other crimes Edwards mentions, they have all been established and proven in court.
“And Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that‘s not very distinguished. You‘ve missed 33 out of 36 meetings in the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee.
You‘ve missed a lot of key votes: on tax policy, on energy, on Medicare reform.”
Edwards has missed quite a few votes over the last year and a half, but that is because he has been running for President and Vice President. Is he expected to not campaign but stay for every vote in the Senate? Most of these votes will not change based on his vote anyway, and those that are very close, he will generally attend and vote. As for the actual record, here are the actual numbers:
1999 Cast 371 out of 374 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2000 Cast 298 out of 298 votes for a 100% voting record
2001 Cast 377 out of 380 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2002 Cast 253 out of 253 votes for a 100% voting record
2003 Cast 281 out of 459 votes for a 61.2% voting record
2004 Cast 84 out of 198 votes for a 42.4% voting record
So yes he has been absent a lot recently, but as you can see, before he started running for President, he had a great record.
“Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I‘m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they‘re in session.
The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.”
Cheney is suggesting that he should have met Edwards in the Senate, however Cheney rarely if ever meets with the whole Senate, he almost exclusively meets with only the Republicans. As for the statement that this is the first time they met, this has been debunked repeatedly in the media today. They met numerous times, and there is video footage of them sitting next to each other at one particular occasion.
“We‘ve added 1.7 million jobs to the economy.”
In the last year. We are still down about a million jobs since Bush took office. He is well on track to being the first President in 70 years to have less jobs in America when he leaves office than when he started. This is a huge indictment of the President’s policies.
“the Kerry record on taxes is one basically of voting for a large number of tax increases -- 98 times in the United States Senate. “
This is incorrect as well. Many of these were bundled in other bills, they are counting multiple tax increases in the same bills, and they are even counting when Kerry voted for modified versions of bills that didn’t cut taxes as much as the Republicans would like. It is simply false.
I am about half way through the debate, and I am tired and done with this. Cheney is so willing to simply mislead the American people, it is almost criminal. This is such a perfect example of the problems we face today in America. We no longer can expect honesty from our President and his Administration, and this is destroying our country.
There will be some who will claim that Edwards also stretched the truth on some points, and I concede that maybe he did in a few places. Mr. Cheney has lied in every single one of his answers however, and this is simply beyond the pale. We need new leadership asap.