It’s a good thing this exchange between Vice President Cheney and ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz took place in Oman, out of reach of the American public.
Raddatz observed of the 5-year-old Iraq war, “Two-thirds of Americans say it’s not worth fighting, and they’re looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.”
And Cheney’s response: “So?”
That’s it? After the cherry-picked intelligence, the nonexistent WMDs, the nonexistent link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, the nonexistent crowds welcoming us as liberators, the nonexistent oil revenues to pay for the war, the nonexistent Mission Accomplished but nearly 4,000 very real American lives and over half a trillion very real U.S. dollars, that’s it? “So?”
Raddatz — one of our new favorite people — pushed on: “So, you don’t care what the American people think?”
No, he did not. We wish he would have told us this five years ago.
Said Cheney, “No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War.”
First, the public opinion polls haven’t fluctuated in the sense of wild swings up and down. Since 2003, the percentage of Americans who think the Iraq war is not worth fighting has grown steadily, from about 27 percent to 63 percent.
And as for the comparison between George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln, which not even Bush’s most fevered followers would be likely to make, there’s a significant difference between Lincoln’s war and Bush’s war.
Lincoln won his.