The Problem With Right-Wing Media Treating Dick Cheney Like An Expert On Iraq

Gearing up for President Obama's prime-time address on U.S strategy against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, right-wing media heaped praise on former Vice President and roundly discredited Iraq War architect Dick Cheney.

Discussing U.S. Action Against The Islamic State, Right-Wing Media Praise Cheney For Military Prowess

Rush Limbaugh: Cheney Can Talk About Iraq, As He Is “First And Foremost An American Patriot”  Who “Cares Deeply About National Security.”   On the September 10 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh hailed Dick Cheney's credibility to discuss the threat from the Islamic State by pointing to his record on national security. Limbaugh championed Cheney as an “American patriot” who “desperately cares about national security.”  He contrasted “serious,” “fearless” patriot Cheney to President Obama, whom he cast as unwilling to recognize and act on threats to American national security. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show9/10/14]

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “Dick Cheney Is Still Right” On Iraq. On September 9, a Wall Street Journal editorial boasted  “Dick Cheney Is Still Right.”  The paper blamed the rise of the Islamic State on Obama's foreign policy and claimed (emphasis added): 

Mr. Obama can blame this rising tide of disorder on George W. Bush, but the polls show the American public doesn't believe it. They know from experience that it takes time for bad policy to reveal itself in new global turmoil. They saw how the early mistakes in Iraq led to chaos until the 2007 surge saved the day and left Mr. Obama with an opportunity he squandered. And they can see now that Mr. Obama's strategy has produced terrorist victories and more danger for America.

[...]

We hope tonight's speech shows a more realistic President determined to defeat Islamic State, but whatever he says will have to overcome the doubts about American resolve that he has spread around the world for nearly six years. One way to start undoing the damage would be to concede that Dick Cheney was right all along. [The Wall Street Journal9/9/14]

Cheney Has Been Repeatedly Discredited For Pushing Falsehoods That Led To Iraq War

Cheney: “There Is No Doubt”  Saddam Possessed Weapons Of Mass Destruction, Necessitating U.S. Intervention. In August 2002, Cheney told a veterans convention, “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.” Cheney's remarks echoed what he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in March: 

CHENEY: What we said, Wolf, if you go back and look at the record is, the issue's not inspectors. The issue is that he has chemical weapons and he's used them. The issue is that he's developing and has biological weapons. The issue is that he's pursuing nuclear weapons. 

[...]

[W]e look at the current situation and realize we have a dangerous leader in that country with weapons of mass destruction, threatening his own people, the region and even the United States. And we have to take him very seriously. [Bush White House, Archives.gov, 8/26/02], [CNN, Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer3/24/02]

FACT: There Were No Weapons Of Mass Destruction In Iraq. As a CIA report concluded in 2004, following a 15-month inspection by the CIA's Iraq Survey Group (ISG), Saddam had destroyed all weapons of mass destruction more than ten years before the U.S. invaded Iraq, and the dictator had not begun any program to start producing them. [CNN, 10/7/04]

Cheney: There's  “Irrefutable Evidence” That Saddam Had Reconstituted A Uranium Program To Build Nuclear Weapons. On September 8, 2002, Cheney claimed that Iraq was acquiring aluminum tubes to enrich uranium, and on September 20, he testified before Congress that the U.S. had proof that Saddam had set up a program to enrich uranium. According to Cheney:

CHENEY: We now have irrefutable evidence that [Saddam] has once again set up and reconstituted his program to take uranium, to enrich it to sufficiently high grade, so that it will function as the base material as a nuclear weapon. And there's no doubt about the fact that the level of effort has escalated in recent months." [GPO.gov, 8/4/07], [Mother Jones, 5/15/13]

FACT: Bush Administration Was Forced To Admit Uranium Assertion Was Based On Faulty Evidence. In 2003, the White House admitted that its claim that Saddam sought to purchase uranium for a nuclear weapons program was inaccurate and based on forged documents. And as Mother Jones pointed out, aluminum tubes -- which Cheney and the Bush administration pointed to as evidence Saddam was building a nuclear program --  “were not acquired for any nuclear weapons program.”  According to the news magazine, the former commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, who worked with the CIA inspecting Iraq for weapons, recalled his shock at hearing Cheney's assertion:  “In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence there was an ongoing program.” [The Guardian7/8/03], [Mother Jones5/15/13]

Cheney: Saddam Provided Training To Al Qaeda Members. During a statement given at a public policy institute in 2003, Cheney claimed that Saddam was providing training to Al Qaeda members:

CHENEY: Saddam Hussein had a lengthy history of reckless and sudden aggression. He cultivated ties to terror -- hosting the Abu Nidal organization, supporting terrorists, and making payments to the families of suicide bombers. He also had an established relationship with al Qaeda -- providing training to al Qaeda members in areas of poisons, gases and conventional bombs. He built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction. And he refused or evaded all international demands to account for those weapons. [Bush White House, Archives.gov, 10/17/03]

FACT: Senate Intelligence Committee Concluded There Was No “Credible Reporting On Al-Qaeda Training” In Iraq. The Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence determined in its  “Postwar Finding About Iraq's WMD Programs”  that  “Postwar findings support the April 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) assessment that there was no credible reporting on al-Qa'eda training at Salman Pak or anywhere else in Iraq.” [Intelligence.Senate.gov9/8/06]