From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Dick Cheney on invading Iraq: "would have been a mistake"

September 16, 2004 9:01 AM

Dick Cheney in a post-mortem on the first Gulf War at the Soref Symposium, 4/29/1991:

I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place.

What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?

I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.

The Vice President seems to be forgetting things -- must be the onset of Alzheimers. Let's do him a favor and send him into early retirement so he can spend more time with his family.

More from the archive in Neocons, War and Peace.

Dick Cheney on invading Iraq: "would have been a mistake" (09.16.2004)

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Read the 4 comments.


14 years ago? I could probably find some quotes from Sen. Byrd talking about how the earth was flat.

Thu Sep 16 2004 10:00 AM


Actually Cheney had it right, with the consortium of allies in 1991, the invasion of Iraq was hardly ideal. Imagine having to attempt to rein in the Syrians when they decide to loot Baghdad, or deal with the Saudis when they decide to permantly occupy the Iraqi oil fields. To have any success they had to keep the war short and sweet. The "coalition" of nations assembled would never have withstood for any amount of time. Bush 1 was a victim of his own success, with his "allied" army he also had to bow to his allies demands.

Thu Sep 16 2004 11:44 AM

raging red:

I just read this quote from Poppa Bush (in 1998, talking to Gulf War veterans):

"Had we gone into Baghdad -- we could have done it, you guys could have done it, you could have been there in 48 hours -- and then what? Which sergeant, which private, whose life would be at stake in perhaps a fruitless hunt in an urban guerilla war to find the most-secure dictator in the world? Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power -- America in an Arab land -- with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous."

Thu Sep 16 2004 11:49 AM

raging red:

"I could probably find some quotes from Sen. Byrd talking about how the earth was flat."

Um, interesting non sequitur...

Thu Sep 16 2004 2:32 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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