Liz Cheney admitted on Monday that when it came to her father's handling of the occupation of Iraq by U.S. forces, "certainly we made mistakes."
"There is just no question about that," said the former state department employee and ubiquitous defender of the Bush administration's national security policies.
Speaking at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center for the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute's Conservative Leadership Seminar, Cheney pinpointed the errors as stemming from a fundamental misjudgment about the strength of Iraq's political institutions.
"I think that when we were in the months and years right after Saddam was deposed, there are things that I probably would do differently now," she said. "We had this sense that one could go into a nation like Iraq and if you sort of either arrested or removed from office the top layer of leadership that other Iraqis would sort of rise up and take over. I don't think we expected the population to be so traumatized. But I think what we saw is that after decades of Saddam's rule nobody was willing to step up and take over. People waited for instruction for everything."
The remarks, which went relatively unnoticed, reflect a willingness for introspection on Iraq that few of the war's most ardent defenders have allowed. The former vice president himself has admitted that mistakes were made, but primarily in posture, not policy. For instance, he has said it was wrong for him to have declared that the insurgency was in its last throes when it clearly wasn't. He has been decidedly less reflective about the troop levels that were deployed to the war in the first place and that had to deal with that insurgency.
Despite calling America's invasion of Iraq "by no means perfect," Liz Cheney, like her father promised that history books would declare the invasion to be a tremendous success. Already, she declared, the war had proven to be "a huge service for humanity, a huge service for security, a huge service for the Middle East, for the people of Iraq."