I was always suspicious of George Bush Jr. when he claimed back in 2003, "we will plant the seed of democracy in Iraq, the heart of the Middle East, and democracy will spread throughout entire the region." This kind of grandiose statement struck me as terribly naive and simplistic. I was shocked that the mainstream press never really called him on it. Then again, our country was still on a complete war footing in the wake of 9/11.
I think the following statement is generally accepted across the political spectrum...
Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Pearle were the primary neocons who pushed for the war in Iraq. They cherry-picked the weak evidence (yellow cake uranium from Niger & the Iraqi diplomat meeting with Mohammed Atta in Hamburg) and pushed the big issues (weapons of mass destruction, war crimes against the Kurds, he's a tyrannical despot/warmonger who poses a threat to the stability of the entire region and has continually violated the Gulf War I treaty), packaged it and sold it to Bush. Bush then got Colin Powell to sell it to the United Nations. Then Bush sold it to congress and the rest of the U.S. Once the mainstream media fell in line, the war was a go.
I wonder if Cheney had the foresight to see the eventual chaos that could ensue throughout the region if there were democratic uprisings across the board. Let's be blunt. Not every country is well-suited for instant democracy. Most Middle Eastern countries suffer from staggering rates of unemployment and half the population lives on $2.00 a day. There is an enormous schism between the wealthy and the downtrodden. With the sole exception of Turkey, these countries don't really have a middle class. In fact, the concept of a middle class doesn't even exist. If you're born into poverty, you die in poverty. If you're born into wealth, you die wealthy. Simply stated, it's difficult for a stable democracy to instantly develop and flourish out of an overly-populated, impoverished nation.
Is it possible that Cheney knew a Democratic Iraq would result in other dictatorships (Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc.) eventually coming under intense scrutiny by their respective populations? You can only oppress people for so long. Especially when the average age is under 30 and extremely poor. Although the Islamic religion is very "fatalistic" (they always seem to put their faith in Allah - what will happen will happen - it's the will of god - the future is already written... god is great, etc. blah), somewhere underneath it all, people realize that their destiny is not predetermined. Hence the riots, looting and rebellion.
I think Cheney has this view of the world...
There will always be war and killing. I'd better do my patriotic duty and make sure as little of it as possible occurs on U.S. soil. We're the head honcho, so historically speaking, we will be the #1 target.
I think he knew that the sudden imposition of democracy in Iraq would eventually instigate future civil wars throughout the Middle East. The underlying premise being... hey, let's keep the war over there and off our shores. He got Bush to say, "We must fight them there so we don't fight them here." But maybe Cheney was really thinking "Let's let THEM fight THEM there." If I can get them to kill themselves, the overall threat level diminishes substantially.
It reminds me of my basic premise for 5th generation warfare - instead of actively killing your enemies, get them to kill themselves. Foment civil wars and they won't have time to focus their hatred on the U.S., and to a lesser extent Israel. The alliance with Saudi Arabia will always be safe because they'll crush any potential uprising faster than you can say "Allah Akbar." All the other countries, fuck 'em.
I've always thought that Dick Cheney is a brilliant individual. Regardless of whether or not I agree with him from a policy perspective (foreign and domestic), I'll be the first to admit, the man has an incredible grasp of the issues and speaks with tremendous clarity. Not an inspirational speaker (like Obama), but more of an effective behind the scenes manipulator. He reminds of Silvio Dante on the Sopranos. If I were going to choose a consiliere, I'd pick Dick. But I would decline the quail hunting invitation.