The U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as chief apostle of Neo-Conservatism during the last seven years of the Bush administration is the last person in the world that I would call an accurate prophet. This is the same Neo-Con Nostradamus, hunched shouldered, fingers interlocked in his lap, chin resting on sunken chest contemplation, who rumbled confidently on US television back in 2005 in press interviews that the Iraqi insurrection was in its “final death throes.” I could cite a number of other fantastic visions on the general theme of “victory is near in Iraq” uttered by the Vice President that could rattle credulity better than New Year’s predictions from the tabloids. I have, however, become recently aware of a documented prophecy delivered by Mr. Cheney that without question established him as a formidable seer before heart disease and a “dis-eased” ideology Darth Vadered “Dick.”
Back in 1994, the then former Secretary of Defense for Bush the Elder’s administration in a video taped interview for The American Enterprise Institute, the core Neo-Con think tank in Washington D.C., was asked why the US did not invade and overthrow Saddam Hussein’s Iraq after routing his forces out of Kuwait during the Gulf War of 1991. We had a half-million boots on the ground, thousands of jets and tanks on call for a quickie Blitzkrieg up Saddam’s Euphrates all the way to his Baghdad. A growing chorus of Monday-morning quarterback historians by 1994 were calling the decision not to advance into Iraq a missed opportunity to kick Saddam Hussein entirely out of power while he was prostrate on the ground.
The interviewer asked Cheney if he thought the US and UN forces should have moved into Baghdad at the end of the Gulf War, to which Cheney answered with an emphatic, “No.”
This was a younger Dick answering, one who apparently still had the 20 percent blood flow to the brain he later lost by the time six years hence when he was Vice President of the next Bush-the-Junior administration. In the “mean” time of premature aging, Cheney’s geo-political perception had felt the pinch of multiple heart attacks, clogged and stint stretched arteries sending a more meager pace-maker rationing of red-blooded rationality to refresh his brilliant brain. Back in 1994, with that extra blood flow pumping, Dick Cheney peered into the future with a clarity and foresight that the current V.P. had long lost.
Here is his startling prophecy made nine years before today’s Dick Cheney in 2003, strangely divorced from prophetic insight, played war hawk-in-chief ramrodding the idea of a precipitous invasion of Iraq, completely mindless to the dangers he had foreseen when he expressed in breathtaking detail what would be the disastrous result of such an invasion. Moreover, there are elements in this transcript that reach ahead as prophecy to be fulfilled in our near future.
Cheney began by explaining in 1994 why he was against an invasion of Iraq at the end of the Gulf War:
“Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.”
As it turned out American went in virtually alone in 2003, without any former Arab allies sending their sons alongside US troops as they did in the Gulf War. Except for a few Western allies like the United Kingdom and some token contingents who have since nearly all departed, America has taken most of the burden occupying Iraq since 2003. There is now a record number of US troops, 171,000, in Iraq. This does not officially include what could be many thousands more Americans fighting as mercenaries or privatized support troops for Pentagon hired security firms. All the remaining allies in the “Coalition of the Willing,” including the British and Australian contingents, number under 10,000. It is virtually an American occupation of Iraq.
“Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.”
The Dick Cheney who foresaw this eventuality of imminent breakup of Iraq once Saddam Hussein’s regime had been destroyed knew it would lead to the breakup of Iraq on sectarian and ethnic lines. The Syrians “are” aiding and abetting Sunni insurrectionists crossing their border into the Sunni Triangle of western Iraq with perhaps the long-term goal of absorbing that area into a Greater Syria. The Shia southern Iraq “has” become an active satellite of Iranian hegemony in the Middle East.
What Dick Cheney foresaw in 1994 about Kurdistan is a prophecy in progress. Right now, Turkey marshals an army of 230,000 along its borders with Iraqi Kurdistan and is poised to invade at any time principally motivated out of the fears Cheney defined, that an autonomous or completely independent Kurdistan in Iraq would spread the hot passions of secession to the largest Kurdish population in the Middle East living in southeastern Turkey. Turkish forces could go to war with Iraqi Kurds to preserve their country’s territorial integrity if a whole third of Turkey populated by Kurds might break away — pan-Serbian style — to unite with Iraqi Kurds. Cheney in 1994 imagined the same scenario for the Middle East that beset the Balkans at that time after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
That Cheney’s prophetic eye reaches into our near future: a breakup in Iraq, possibly dragging Turkey into the balkanization of Mesopotamia could come as soon as next year.
A younger Cheney continued predicting from 1994 using the “Q” word that the current Vice President Cheney is loathed to cogitate or press nerve to lips to form:
“It’s a quagmire if you go that far [invade, occupy] and try to take over Iraq.”
What the elder Cheney later predicted in 2003 about easy invasions with downsized forces, of a people rushing into the streets showering flowers upon Americans as liberators, etc., sound like auguries of damaged blood starved synapses. He had become another man by 2003 completely cut off from the man who closed his prophecy nine years before correctly presaging the unsustainable cost of occupying Iraq:
“The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job [in the Gulf War] with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families — it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth
“Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.”
Those were the days when Dick Cheney basked in the full capacity and light of his geo-political genius. He did get it right in the Gulf War of 1991. That genius, by the time of his Vice Presidency and the invasion of Iraq, had faded like the hue of US flags left too long on the graves of over 3,700-and-counting US soldiers, nearly 1,000 American mercenaries and contract workers. The light has thinned down and not recovered its brightness like the vitality of over 27,000 wounded and crippled US soldiers and 7,000 mercenaries and contract laborers. The mind of earlier foresight is a broken thing in today’s Dick Cheney, as impaired as one-in-five minds of returning service men and women enduring too many tours of duty in Iraq now plagued with psychological wounds. Their post traumatic stress disorder is in part the result of Dick Cheney’s “Post Prophetic Stress Disorder” when by 2003 he had lost his grip on cautious prescience.
(19 August 2007)
More predictions about war with Iran.