Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Cheney changed his view on Iraq

He said in '92 Saddam not worth U.S. casualties WASHINGTON -- In an assessment that differs sharply with his view today, Dick Cheney more than a decade ago defended the decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power after the first Gulf War, telling a Seattle audience that capturing Saddam wouldn't be worth additional U.S. casualties or the risk of getting "bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."

Cheney, who was secretary of defense at the time, made the observations answering audience questions after a speech to the Discovery Institute in August 1992, nearly 18 months after U.S. forces routed the Iraqi army and liberated Kuwait.

The same day in August 1992, before a Seattle audience, Cheney supported the decision not to occupy Iraq but to leave Saddam Hussein in power after the first Gulf War.

President George H.W. Bush was criticized for pulling out before U.S. forces could storm Baghdad, allowing Saddam to remain in power and eventually setting the stage for the invasion of Iraq ordered by his son, President George W. Bush, in March 2003.

The comments Cheney made more than a decade ago in a little-publicized appearance have acquired new relevance as he and Bush run for a second term.

A central theme of their campaign has been their unflinching, unchanging approach toward Iraq and the shifting positions offered by Democratic nominee John Kerry.

A transcript of the 1992 appearance was tracked down by P-I columnist Joel Connelly, as reported in today's In the Northwest column. "And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?" Cheney said then in response to a question.

"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."

About 146 Americans were killed in the Gulf War. More than 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

Going to Baghdad, Cheney said in 1992, would require a much different approach militarily than fighting in the open desert outside the capital, a type of warfare that U.S. troops were not familiar, or comfortable fighting. "All of a sudden you've got a battle you're fighting in a major built-up city, a lot of civilians are around, significant limitations on our ability to use our most effective technologies and techniques," Cheney said. "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."

Last week, Cheney attacked Kerry for his alleged inconsistencies. "Senator Kerry ... said that under his leadership, more of America's friends would speak with one voice on Iraq. That seems a little odd coming from a guy who doesn't speak with one voice himself. By his repeated efforts to recast and redefine the war on terror and our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Kerry has given every indication that he lacks the resolve, the determination and the conviction to prevail in the conflict we face."

Cheney's office did not respond to requests for comment about his 1992 statements, nor did the White House. The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, also asked about the 1992 statements, did not respond.

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