Thursday, September 30, 2004

Edwards Notes Cheney Warned of Getting 'Bogged Down' in Iraq

The New York Times
September 30, 2004

Edwards Notes Cheney Warned of Getting 'Bogged Down' in Iraq

WEIRTON, W. Va., Sept. 29 - Seizing on a published report that Vice President Dick Cheney warned 12 years ago of getting "bogged down" in Iraq, Senator John Edwards on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of botching plans for occupying that nation.

"He knew - that's the worse part about this - he knew how dangerous this was," Mr. Edwards told a crowd here. "They knew that there were enormous predictors of what would be happening there, and they still didn't have a plan even though they knew what might be coming.''

Mr. Edwards referred to a report in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer that quoted from a transcript of a speech Mr. Cheney, then the secretary of defense, gave in 1992, 18 months after allied forces liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's forces. "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," Mr. Cheney was quoted as saying.

He went on to suggest that ousting Mr. Hussein would preoccupy the United States for some time. "Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place?'' Mr. Cheney said at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. "You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq."

Brian Jones, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Mr. Cheney had a different view now, linking the Iraq war to the fight against terrorism.

Campaigning Tuesday in Lake Elmo, Minn., Mr. Cheney said the United States had to act on Iraq.

"The idea that somehow we could pull back and simply sit behind our oceans and not aggressively be going after the terrorists and those who sponsor the terrorists I think misreads the situation completely,'' he said.