I worry that this is so old and worn that everyone’s seen it already, but the NYT ran an article on April 13, 1991, that quoted then‐Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s response to questioning as to why the US military didn’t depose Saddam in 1991:
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, elaborating today on Mr. [GHW] Bush’s sentiments, said that sending the United States military to finish the job violates a number of “basic principles” about setting clear‐cut military objectives to support policy goals.
‘What Kind of Government?’
“If you’re going to go in and try to topple Saddam Husein, you have to go to Baghdad,” Mr. Cheney said. “Once you’ve got Baghdad, it’s not clear what you do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundementalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?”
Sure hearkens back to Brent Scowcroft’s remark that “The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney. I consider Cheney a good friend—I’ve known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don’t know anymore.”