Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Did Vice President Cheney tell us Iraq would be a cakewalk??

A lot has been written and said about Vice President Cheney's prediction that the US and Coalition forces would be met with people dancing in the streets and celebrating their freedom from Saddam Hussein's oppression. What isn't made clear, however, is that while as I type this there are Iraqi's celebrating their new found freedom, Vice President Cheney, in his hour-long interview on NBC NEWS' MEET THE PRESS never said the operation would be quick, a cakewalk, or that the people would fall at our feet.

In fact, the Vice President warned of the possible loss of life in the operation. What he did say was that -- when all of the data the Administration has is considered, the Iraqi people
"want to get rid of Saddam Huusein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that. He later pointed out - twice, in fact - that it would not be a cost-free operation.

Want the proof? Read the excerpts below, or click through to the Meet The Press site and read the whole transcript yourself.



http://www.msnbc.com/news/886068.asp

MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

Now, if we get into a significant battle in Baghdad, I think it would be under circumstances in which the security forces around Saddam Hussein, the special Republican Guard, and the special security organization, several thousand strong, that in effect are the close-in defenders of the regime, they might, in fact, try to put up such a struggle. I think the regular army will not. My guess is even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces, and are likely to step aside.

Now, I can’t say with certainty that there will be no battle for Baghdad. We have to be prepared for that possibility. But, again, I don’t want to convey to the American people the idea that this is a cost-free operation. Nobody can say that. I do think there’s no doubt about the outcome. There’s no question about who is going to prevail if there is military action. And there’s no question but what it is going to be cheaper and less costly to do it now than it will be to wait a year or two years or three years until he’s developed even more deadly weapons, perhaps nuclear weapons. And the consequences then of having to deal with him would be far more costly than will be the circumstances today. Delay does not help.
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VICE PRES. CHENEY: But the—again, I come back to this proposition—Is it cost-free? Absolutely not. But the cost is far less than it will be if we get hit, for example, with a weapon that Saddam Hussein might provide to al-Qaeda, the cost to the United States of what happened on 9/11 with billions and billions of dollars and 3,000 lives. And the cost will be much greater in a future attack if the terrorists have access to the kinds of capabilities that Saddam Hussein has developed.


Copyright 2003, National Broadcasting Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
PLEASE CREDIT ANY QUOTES OR EXCERPTS FROM THIS NBC TELEVISION PROGRAM TO “NBC NEWS’ MEET THE PRESS.”
NBC News
MEET THE PRESS
Sunday, March 16, 2003

GUEST: Vice President DICK CHENEY
MODERATOR/PANELIST: Tim Russert - NBC News





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