Video Surfaces of Cheney, in 1994, Warning That An Invasion of Iraq Would Lead to ‘Quagmire’By E&P Staff

Published: August 13, 2007 10:20 AM ET Sunday, updated Monday
NEW YORK It’s not the first time that citizen “investigative journalists” have uncovered some embarrassing, or telling, nugget from the past that apparently remained buried for years. But it has happened again with the posting of a now wildly popular video on YouTube that shows Dick Cheney explaining in 1994 that trying to take over Iraq would be a bad idea and lead to a “quagmire.”

The people who put it up come from a site called Grand Theft Country, the on-screen label cites the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and the date on the screen is April 15, 1994. That looks right, by the age of Cheney.

It first appeared on C-SPAN and was re-aired last week on C-SPAN 3, according to a C-SPAN spokesman.

Posted on YouTube on Friday, it had received over 100,000 hits by this morning, after being widely-linked around the Web. The transcript of this segment is below.

Cheney had helped direct the Gulf War for President George H.W. Bush. That effort was later criticized for not taking Baghdad and officials like Cheney had to explain why not, for years. Some have charged that this led to an overpowering desire to finish the job after Cheney became vice president in 2001.

Here’s the YouTube link if you want to see and hear Cheney. 

If your computer doesn’t do YouTube, the transcript is on the jump:

Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There 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, 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 of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the 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 was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families — it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?

Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.



  1. BananaBoy Says:

    I heard the clip several days ago and have been waiting for the Tom Delay/Cheney/W take on this bit of video. I wanted to tune into Limbaugh to see what he had to say but I just couldn’t make myself do it BUT I can imagine. I’m sure it would have involved how different the world is now and how things have changed since ’94 what with the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center or how Clinton dragged our country down and made us vulnerable so we had to do something to protect ourselves from all the evil in the world. Fear is their secret and way too many are buying into it. Pretty sad!


  2. Mad Dog Says:

    Here’s another’s, William Irwin Thompson’s, opinion for all the boring bloggers to consider in their smoking pipes or chawing cud. I think it a rather conservative viewpoint. My own goes a few light years further in any dimension.

    – Maddog

    “So the neoconservatives of the Bush administration are the mirror-image of al Qaeda; they are also a noetic polity that seeks to deconstruct the modern middle class democratic nation-state and replace it with a metanational corporate cartel – a capitalist al Qaeda. Halliburton, Bechtel, Enron, the Carlyle Group, and Newmount Mining are postnational formations that really care little about the welfare of any particular people or nation. The American soldiers that died in Iraq did not die “defending their country”; they died defending Cheney and Bush’s interests in Halliburton and the Carlyle Group. These neocon corporate managers, very much like the privateers and pirates that helped Queen Elizabeth create a postbaronial world of naval power, are offshore pirates that care as little for the entire nation, as Texan Enron cared for the state of California it plundered.” – William Irwin Thompson

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