Regime Change – Yes We Can!
“Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave. Those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable. And the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met.
Our history of successful regime change is non-existent. Our history of intervention in the problems of other countries has steadily declined over the last 20 years. With Desert Shield/Desert Storm, we had a president that fully understood the use of military power, and fully understood the situation in the Middle East. We had a limited mission, we had Colin Powell preventing “mission creep” and we had a definition of what success looked like. We couldn’t have had more control of the outcome than if we were playing with plastic army men in the back yard.
I would guess if we had gone in there, we would still have forces in Baghdad today. We’d be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home. And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don’t think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties, and while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low-cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question in my mind is, how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is, not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the President made the decision that we’d achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.
– Dick Cheney
Operation Iraqui Freedom demonstrated that while the apple may not fall far from the tree, it’s not the tree. The second war with Iraq had dubious goals; especially lacking was a clear definition of what success looked like. And, everything Cheney said above proved true. I have no idea what kind of conversations George W Bush and Cheney had behind closed doors, but Cheney was in a different role at that time.
However, by comparison with Obama’s current aggression in Libya, Bush’s
handling of Iraq was sober and measured. Obama’s Missiles of March extravaganza has all the planning and foresight of a last-minute stop at the fireworks display at the edge of town and then running home and setting them all off illegally in your back yard. I just hope he doesn’t set his house on fire.