The following letter by GOP Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina was written in support of an editorial published in the Greenwood Commonwealth.
To the editor:
I write in agreement with the following statement from the June 20 editorial in the Greenwood Commonwealth titled "Right criticism, wrong critic": "Former Vice President Dick Cheney isn’t the best person to criticize President Obama’s foreign policy, or the lack thereof."
The editorial went on to quote from a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Vice President Cheney and his daughter, which described President Obama’s policies by saying "[r]arely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." I too am opposed to many of the foreign policy decisions that President Obama has made. However, it is the height of hypocrisy for Dick Cheney to pen those words, because it is in large part a result of his misguidance in the early 2000’s that "so many" Americans – 4,478 – and "so many" Iraqis – estimates range up to 650,000 – lost their lives in an unnecessary conflict. Because of my vote to authorize the Iraq War, I have written over 11,000 letters to family members of the service men and women who died. While at this time, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have publicly stated that they will not apologize for the unnecessary war, it is my hope that they will do so in the future.
I find the piece "Why Iraq Was a Mistake" that Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold wrote for Time in April 2006 to be particularly appropriate. "From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff," wrote Newbold. "After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq – an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots’ rationale for war made no sense." He went on to say that "[w]hat we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures" and listed one of those failures as "the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war" – the same distortion of intelligence in which Dick Cheney played a vital role.
The US spent over eight years and $800 billion to rebuild Iraq and train and equip their military, only to see that investment disintegrate in the face of opposition from ISIS rebels. Expecting more American lives and more US taxpayer dollars to yield a different result now is the definition of insanity. At a time when America is plagued by domestic problems and over $17 trillion in debt, we simply cannot afford to repeat our past mistakes. It is time for the Iraqi people to stand up and fight for their own future.
Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress (NC-3)