Dick Cheney Blast From the Past
This is a segment of a 1994 interview with Dick Cheney. The former Sec. of Defense convincingly argues that invading Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein would have been a bad idea.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?
INTERVIEWER: Why not?
CHENEY: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad, we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.
Once you got into Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government in Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west. Part of eastern Iraq, the Iranians would like to claim -- fought over for eight years. In the north, you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you've threatened the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire, if you go that far in trying to take over Iraq.
The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war.
And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? And our judgment was: not very many. And I think we got it right.
Hat tip to Blast Off!