Not interested in watching Tom Brady throw underinflated balls in tonight’s NFL home opener? You can always head to the Nixon Library to hear former Vice President Dick Cheney regurgitate a bunch of debunked “facts” about how the last administration conducted themselves in the Middle East.
Cheney will be at the Nixon Library at 6PM tonight in Yorba Linda; you can blame the oppressive heat on Cheney’s arrival because he left the portal to Hell open when he arrived in Southern California.
Cheney’s visit comes on the heels of Fox News’ Chris Wallace embarrassing Big Dick with actual facts about how Iran’s Nuclear Program expanded under his watch just last Sunday.
From the story in Huffington Post:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday shrugged off the rapid growth of Iran’s nuclear capacity during the Bush years, insisting that the American invasion of Iraq had curbed Iranian nuclear ambitions.
“There was military action that had an impact on the Iranians when we took down Saddam Hussein,” Cheney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There was a period of time when they stopped their program because they were afraid what we did to Saddam we were going to do to them next.”
The invasion of Iraq in fact deeply strengthened Iran’s hand in the region, ousting a traditional enemy of Iran and installing a new government far more sympathetic to the Iranian regime. Much of Iraq has effectively functioned as a client state of Iran for years.
Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out to Cheney that Iran had no uranium enrichment centrifuges prior to the Iraq War, but had 5,000 of them by the time Bush and Cheney left office.
Cheney waved off the statistic. “I think we did a lot to deal with the arms control problem in the Middle East,” he said.
Sure they did.
The truth is the Bush/Cheney administration’s plan for dealing with Iran was worse and far weaker than the current plan on the table in Congress. From Bloomberg, this piece by Mark Champion:
It was in late 2002, almost two years into Bush’s presidency, that an Iranian opposition group exposed Iran’s covert nuclear fuel program to the public. In the first half of 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the information, and later that year, after the U.S. had invaded Iraq, France, Germany and the U.K. began negotiations with Iran to end the nuclear program.
When IAEA inspectors visited Iran in February 2003, the country’s nuclear fuel program consisted of a centrifuge production plant; a largely empty commercial-grade underground enrichment plant at Natanz, with about 100 casings for centrifuges awaiting completion; and a heavy water reactor at Arak under construction. Iran said the program was civilian; however, it could one day be used to produce weapons-grade fissile material.
In other words, at the start of Bush’s presidency, Iran had no operational centrifuge cascades and no stocks of enriched fuel, so it had no means of making a nuclear weapon.
In their talks, the Europeans sought to offer Iran trade and investment incentives to end to the fuel program. The Bush administration supported this approach, setting zero enrichment as a red line. The Iranians refused to consider abandoning their fuel cycle ambitions, but they agreed to suspend “enrichment activities” while talks progressed.
This was a temporary deal designed to give space for a final agreement to be worked out — and if that sounds familiar, it should. It was in many ways similar to the agreement reached in 2013 to enable the current talks. The 2003 language, however, was vague, and the Iranians gamed it.
Iran decided that the suspension applied only to actual uranium enrichment, and not to other activities. So by June 2004, there were 1,140 fully installed centrifuges at Natanz. In October of that year, Iran announced it had substantial feedstocks ready to enrich in the centrifuges.
By the time Bush left office in January 2009, Iran had just under 4,000 working centrifuges and an additional 1,600 installed. These had, to that point, produced 171 kilos of low-enriched uranium. Oh, and Iran had covertly built a new enrichment facility under a mountain at Qom.
And maybe someone can ask Big Dick about why it was OK for President Reagan to sell arms to Iran again back in the day when they Iranian government really hated America?
Cheney’s appearance in Yorba Linda means MoveOn.org will be there to protest his appearance and promote the Iran deal.
From their email today: This is it. After months of debate, Congress is set to vote for either diplomacy or war with Iran. As Congress prepares to take one of the most important votes in recent history, thousands of MoveOn members and allies will gather across the country to light candles for peace and say, “No war with Iran.” Can you join other MoveOn members in Yorba Linda on Thursday, Sep. 10, at 6:00 p.m. to ensure Congress supports diplomacy over war?