Cheney vs. Cheney

From the AntiWar blog, an interview with Dick Cheney from 1994 talking about why Bush I government did not invade Iraq during Gulf War I. I’ve emphasized certain sections in bold below:

Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There 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 to Iraq and took it over, 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 of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it 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 threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact 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, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

5 Comments

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  1. The point of this is what?

    That seven years before 9/11 we thought Saddam wasn’t worth more effort?

    Guess what?

    Times change.

    Reality is not static, so an analysis of the value of taking out Saddam from 1994 is different from 2003.

    Guess that means that the “neocons” are “flexible” and “nuanced”.

  2. @Brian
    And the connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein would be…

  3. @Seph

    none needed.

    After 9/11 the rules of the game changed. What was once tolerable, is now intolerable.

    Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was the equivalent of the crack house in the middle of the neighborhood that people just tried to ignore. But then… Maybe it wasn’t Saddam’s crack dealers that broke into your house and murdered your wife and kids, but guess what, you are no longer going to tolerate those low lives anymore.

    That means you go and take care of it, because it is what has to be done.

    Yeah, there are going to be some messy points in that effort, but IN THE END, you are striving for a more peaceful neighborhood.

    Some relevant points:

    — Gulf War One ended with a Cease-Fire, meaning it was NOT over. It was a “Timeout”. When a cease-fire is broken by one side, there need be NO justifications for the other side to resume hostilities as they have, by definition, already been resumed.

    — On average at least once a day during Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch, Saddams’s military placed anti-aircraft assets into forbidden zones in VIOLATION of that cease-fire and then engaged Coalition pilots.

    Soundbite version: Iraqi troops fired upon or threatened to fire upon U.S. pilots on a DAILY basis, thereby violating the cease-fire from 1991.

    — Thankfully for the pilots training and our advanced technology, no pilots were lost, even though Saddam placed bounties for capturing American pilots.

    I’m hoping no one will seriously advocate a position that demurs on taking action when our people in the US military are continually threatened and attacked by those who have a clear history of aggression, chemical weapons usage and support of terrorist organizations.

    Or is it the position of the AntiWar Left that that is ok?

  4. Are you saying life of innocent civilians of other nations are less important that your military personnel? If yes, then no point in arguing about it.

  5. Are YOU saying that the policy of the American military is to specifically target innocent civilians of other nations?

    If so, then you are apparently divorced from reality, as the American military goes to extraordinary extremes to AVOID civilian casualties, whereas regimes like Saddam’s Iraq, PRK, IRI, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc, etc, go out of their way to CAUSE civilian casualties.

    Are you saying that Saddam Hussien’s ambitions and the goals of Islamic Fascism are more important than innocent Iraqi civilians?

    — The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    — Except for ending slavery, fascism, and communism, War has never solved anything.

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