Center Gives ‘Attaboys’ To Alumni Quayle, Cheney Over Comments On Gulf Crisis

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The Center for Security Policy today commended two distinguished former members of its Board of Advisors — Vice President Dan Quayle and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney — for saying what must be said about the Persian Gulf crisis. In separate appearances over the past few days, these officials have provided a much-needed measure of vision and principle to an Administration whose approach to Saddam Hussein seems increasingly driven by pure expediency and public opinion polls.

Enunciating points long stressed by the Center, the Vice President said on 29 November 1990 at Seton Hall University that:


There must be limits to our patience [with respect to Iraq.] And those limits are reached when our restraint threatens to undermine other, equally moral goals. These goals…include ending Kuwait’s agony as soon as possible; minimizing American casualties in the event of war; and preventing Saddam Hussein from adding nuclear weapons to his already formidable arsenal of mass destruction.


The Vice President underscored the last point in an interview on CNN’s "Evans and Novak" broadcast on 1 December. He said, "I can tell you this, Saddam Hussein is going after the nuclear weapon and we must…deny Saddam Hussein from having the nuclear weapon….because…he’ll use it."

On 3 December, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary Cheney added:


We do not have an indefinite period of time to wait for sanctions to produce the desired result….Despite the pain he is inflicting on his own people, there is no indication that Saddam Hussein is open to a peaceful resolution of the problem he has created….It’s far better to deal with [Saddam] now…than it will be for us to deal with him five or ten years from now when Saddam has become even better armed and more threatening.


These are concerns that have prompted the Center from the outset of the crisis to urge the Bush Administration to identify Saddam Hussein’s offensive military potential as the problem that must be resolved decisively — not simply restoration of the status quo ante in Kuwait. The Center strongly recommends that President Bush heed the prudent counsel of his Vice President and Secretary of Defense rather than wager the national interest — and his presidency — on deals that might be struck with Saddam Hussein, deals that will simply postpone the day of reckoning and add immeasurably to its costs.


Center for Security Policy

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