Kudos to the Seattle P-I’s Joel Connelly for unearthing a transcript of a 1992 speech delivered by then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney before the Discovery Institute in Seattle. [Bush-Cheney flip-flops cost America in blood]
A companion piece ran on the front page of the P-I, providing even more details. [Cheney changed his view on Iraq]
In the speech Cheney defends the decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power at the end of the first Gulf War:
“I would guess if we had gone in there, 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.”
At last count, 1,046 Americans have been killed, and 7000 injured… the majority since President Bush famously declared “mission accomplished.” And as Joel points out, you can’t get much bigger of a “flip-flop” than this.
Thanks Joel, for doing the kind of hard-nosed, old fashioned reporting, we don’t always see from local columnists. (Yeah… I’m looking at you Collin.)