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Dick Cheney

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Because if we had 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 to 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 could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, 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 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 is 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 the 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.
Cheney, on not pushing on to Baghdad during the first Gulf War; C-SPAN 4-15-94

Dick Cheney

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And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.... Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq.

Dick Cheney

I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we we're 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.

Dick Cheney

I'm actually kind of impressed by Iraq's patience right now... I mean, look at it objectively. They've opened their doors to un inspectors, they're being bombed by british and american troops, american forces are massing at their borders, american diplomats are actively looking to assinate [sic] Saddam Hussein, etc. It almost seems like Bush is doing everything he can to taunt Saddam Hussein. Not just if you step over this line I will hit you, but if you step over this line while I put rats on your back and put butter on the floor and make fun of your mom and move the line then I will hit you, in fact I'll hit you even if you just stand there and do nothing. It's painfully clear that iraq should not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. But it also seems painfully clear that the bush administration have no intention of finding a peaceful resolution to the situation in Iraq.


...I am proud of the decision of this Administration to overthrow Saddam Hussein. I am proud of the liberation of 25 million Iraqis. And Iím proud to see an Iraq that is now emerging with a stronger government, a truly multiethnic, multi-sectarian government thatís about to have its second set of elections, thatís inviting private investment into Iraq, and that is making peace with its Arab neighbors.

Condoleezza Rice

We're fighting on many fronts, and Iraq is now the central front. Saddam holdouts and foreign terrorists are trying desperately to undermine Iraq's progress and to throw that country into chaos. The terrorists in Iraq believe their attacks on innocent people will weaken our resolve. That's what they believe. They believe that America will run from a challenge. They're mistaken. Americans are not the running kind.

George W. Bush
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