That explains everything

Cheney's office on a 1994 tape in which Cheney says Saddam Hussein isn't worth too many American lives? He wasn't vice president then.

Published August 17, 2007 5:50PM (EDT)

If you've logged on to your e-mail this week, you probably couldn't avoid seeing a link to that 1994 video clip in which Dick Cheney explains why it would have been a bad idea to overthrow Saddam Hussein as part of the Gulf War.

"Once you ... took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place?" Cheney asks on the tape. "The other thing was casualties ... The question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was, 'How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?' And our judgment was, "Not very many," and I think we got that right."

So, 13 years and 3,706 dead Americans later, what does Cheney's office have to say now about what Cheney said back then? Only this: "He was not vice president at the time, it was after he was secretary of defense. I don't have any comment."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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