CHENEY: … And if I were to look for one where there was a miscalculation on my part, I think I underestimated the difficulty of getting an Iraqi government stood up. …
MR. LEHRER: Is it fair to say, then, that the miscalculation resulted in chaotic situation that existed immediately after for awhile and got – immediately after the invasion and all that sort of stuff?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I can’t say that. I can’t link those –
MR. LEHRER: Sure.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: – two particular points. What I can say is I think if we had been able to move more rapidly to stand up a government that was capable, I think we might have avoided some of that.
Ah, rigor! To be rigorous, you really do have to conclude that there’s no concrete way of saying that if there had been an Iraqi government "stood up" immediately after the invasion, there would have been no descent into chaos. That’s the peril of the counterfactual conditional. Somehow, though Cheney didn’t seem to insist on such rigor when linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda in order to get the war that will forever define his legacy.
Crossposted to The Streak.