- From Meet the Press, March 16...
- Vice President Cheney: Now, I think things have gotten
so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief
is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. And the president's made
it very clear that our purpose there is, if we are forced to do this, will
in fact be to stand up a government that's representative of the Iraqi
people, hopefully democratic due respect for human rights, and it, obviously,
involves a major commitment by the United States, but we think it's a commitment
worth making. And we don't have the option anymore of simply laying back
and hoping that events in Iraq will not constitute a threat to the U.S.
Clearly, 12 years after the Gulf War, we're back in a situation where he
does constitute a threat.
- 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 President 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.