Rand Paul in ’09: Cheney pushed Iraq war to benefit Halliburton

David Corn over at Mother Jones unearths a 2009 video of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in which Paul suggests that former vice president Dick Cheney wanted to invade Iraq in order to benefit his former employer, Halliburton.

In the video, shot at Western Kentucky University, Paul argues that Cheney thought the invasion was a bad idea in the first Bush administration but changed his tune after working for Halliburton.

"He's being interviewed (in 1995), I think, by the American Enterprise Institute, and and he says it would be a disaster, it would be vastly expensive, it would be civil war, we'd have no exit strategy. He goes on and on for five minutes — Dick Cheney saying it would be a bad idea," Paul said. "And that's why the first Bush didn’t go into Baghdad. Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars — their CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government, it's a good idea to go into Iraq."

Paul also said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were used as a pretext for the invasion.

"It became an excuse," Paul said. "9/11 became an excuse for a war they already wanted in Iraq."

The video was shot in April 2009, shortly before Paul announced that he would run for Senate if then-Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) were to retire. Bunning later announced his retirement.

The theory that Cheney wanted to invade Iraq to benefit Halliburton isn't a new one. Iraq war opponents have long espoused a similar theory about the origins of the Iraq war.

But needless to say, it hasn't exactly been a favorite theory of leading potential GOP presidential candidates.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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