"This agreement will give Iran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the US homeland," former Vice President Cheney said during a Tuesday speech at the American Enterprise Institute. "I know of no nation in history that has agreed to guarantee that the means of its own destruction will be in the hands of another nation, particularly one that is hostile."
Some in attendance were less than impressed with Cheney’s criticism of the Iran nuclear deal. One protester with activist group Code Pink interrupted by shouting "Dick Cheney is a war criminal!"
But apparently the Obama administration has been none too pleased with the former vice president’s rhetoric as of late. Spread through its official social media accounts, the White House has promoted a video that chastises Cheney over his unflinching support for the Iraq War.
"People say, 'Well, Dick Cheney was wrong about Iraq. Why should they listen to you on Iran?'" Fox News commentator Juan Williams says in a clip in the video’s opening.
"Because I was right about Iraq," Cheney responds.
The video then goes on to point all of the ways that Cheney was, in fact, wrong about Iraq.
Many of these points are worth repeating, especially as Cheney promotes his new book, "Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America," coauthored with his daughter Liz. In it, the Cheneys essentially rewrite key aspects of a war that’s almost universally considered a monumental mistake in US foreign policy.
"The Obama agreement will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East and, more than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki," it continues.
As Salon points out, this is a perfect example of the book’s hypocritical namesake. Earlier, the book claims that Americans "should learn why America was right to end the war by dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki." To use that same example only a few pages later in a negative context highlights Cheney’s US-centric worldview.
If the US does it: good. If the Middle East does the same thing: bad.
Not to mention the fact that Cheney’s claims about the dangers of the Iran deal rely on overlooking the Bush administration’s own actions and fearmongering.
In a Fox News interview with Cheney earlier this summer, Chris Wallace pointed out that the Bush administration actually improved Iran’s nuclear capabilities, with the Islamic Republic’s number of centrifuges increasing from zero in 2007, to over 5,000 in 2009.
"In fairness, didn’t you leave – the Bush-Cheney administration leave – President Obama with a mess?" Wallace asked.
Without providing any evidence, Cheney blamed that rise on Obama and changed the subject.
Cheney’s recent, unfounded statements about the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran echo arguments made in the lead up to the Iraq War. "We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice infamously said before the invasion. The rest is history.
In that context, it’s no surprise that the Obama administration would make efforts to bash the former vice president’s nuclear deal criticism. Most security experts agree that the nuclear deal is the best path to ensuring peace.
"The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program," Reuters reports. "Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead."
With Congress expected to vote on the agreement soon, no one wants a repeat of past mistakes.