As predictions go, it wasn't exactly Broadway Joe Namath guaranteeing victory before Super Bowl III. Vice President Dick Cheney, on the March 16, 2003 edition of Meet the Press, famously declared: "From the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
Earlier this year, Cheney announced on Face the Nation: "I'm not in the business of making predictions," but the Veep was once again showing off his problematic prognostication skills on Meet the Press by September. "I don't expect that Nancy Pelosi will be speaker," he prophesied. "I think we're doing very well out there. I feel better about the election now than I did three months ago ... I-if I had to bet today, I'd bet that-well, I can bet you a dinner that we hold both houses." This from the same man who, in mid-2005, proffered this bold forecast to CNN's Larry King: "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." A week or so later, he added: "It will be an enormous success story."
Hey, don't blame Dick. No less than Nobel Prize winning physicist Neils Bohr explained: "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."
Before anyone gets the impression that our Vice President is a total washout in the crystal ball department, let's hark back to 1991. Appearing on ABC's This Week, then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney was asked why Operation Desert Storm had not gone "all the way" to remove Saddam Hussein from power. "I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire," Cheney replied. "Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shia government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Baath party, would it be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all."
As they say in South Florida: Bingo.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.