Cheney: Hussein not worth additional U.S. casualties

by on October 5th, 2004

Here’s Dick Cheney’s whopping double backward flip-flop with a triple twist on the Iraq War.

This is what Dick Cheney had to say about the prospects of invading Iraq and overthrowing Hussein in a speech in August 1992. (via Tapped)

“I would guess if we had gone into Iraq I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We’d be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.

And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don’t think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties. And while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn’t a cheap war.

And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is not that 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…”

Now the thing to remember here is that immediately before the Gulf War is when Hussein was at his peak of power. His military might was drastically cut by the war and the sanctions that followed. Also, most of the atrocities that are associated with Hussein took place during this period as well. The use of “weapons of mass destruction” against his own people. The mass graves. All of this took place before and immediately after the Gulf War.

So the case for overthrowing Hussein was never stronger than it was then, but Cheney was opposed because it wasn’t worth the additional U.S. casualties.

So what changed? Republicans will tell you it was 9/11. But Hussein had nothing to do with it and Al Qaeda was not active in Iraq before the war. So what could have possibly led Cheney to do such an incredible flip-flop if not political expediency?

I hope John Edwards uses this in the debate!

Mike Thomas