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Cheney: I was Wrong about Iraqi Insurgency

IraqSlogger posts sections of an interview with US Vice President Dick Cheney, conducted by CNN’s Larry King:

Q Okay. Let’s go back. On this program, May of 2005, you said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes.


Q Why were you wrong?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think my estimate at the time — and it was wrong; it turned out to be incorrect — was the fact that we were in the midst of holding three elections in Iraq, elected an interim government, then ratifying a constitution, then electing a permanent government; that they had had significant success, we’d rounded up Saddam Hussein. I thought there were a series of these milestones that would in fact undermine the insurgency and make it less than it was at that point. That clearly didn’t happen. I think the insurgency turned out to be more robust.

And the other thing that happened, of course — this was prior to the actions of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi with his bombing of the mosque up at Samarra in early ’06, that in effect helped to precipitate some of the sectarian conflict that led to a lot of the Shia on Sunni battles.

Q In that same interview you said that the Iraqis were well on their way to being able to defend themselves. Why not? Why aren’t they? Why aren’t we gone?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: They’re not there yet because the job is not done yet, Larry. When you think about what’s been accomplished — in, what, about four years now since we originally launched in there — they have in fact held three national elections, and written a constitution. There are a significant number of Iraqis now serving in the armed forces, serving as part of the security forces. We have made progress on that front. We’ve also obviously with the surge the President decided on last January I think made significant progress now into the course of the summer.

The real test is whether or not the strategy that was put in place for this year will in fact produce the desired results.

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