Transcript of Cheney Interview

CHENEY The president was very clear, the other day, Diane, when he was asked about Saddam, that we believe he should in fact allow inspectors back in. That's what the U.N. Security Council has called for. He kicked 'em out about three years ago. The Clinton administration basically didn't respond at that point. There's several things to keep in mind about Iraq and about the Iraqis. We know that he was developing nuclear weapons, and that in 1981, for example, when the Israelis struck the Osirik [ph] reactor they dealt a major blow to his program. We know, in 1991, at the time of the Gulf War, that he also was getting close, once again, to acquiring nuclear weapons. We know he has developed biological and chemical agents. He's used them, not only on his own people but also on the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. That thousands and thousands of people have died at the hands of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction already. That's history. There's every reason to believe, since he kicked out the inspectors, that he did that specifically because he wanted to develop further his capabilities in this area, so-called biological, chemical agents and nuclear weapons.The reason those inspectors were called for in the first place, and he agreed to them at the end of the Gulf War, that was one of the conditions for moving forward, was to make certain, to reassure the world that he was not developing these kinds of capabilities again. Now I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that this guy is clearly, continues to be a significant potential problem for the region, for the United States, for everybody with, with interests in the area, and for the president to say that he thinks those inspectors should be readmitted, I think is a perfectly reasonable policy statement for him to make.

SAWYER And will we go in and blast them alone —

CHENEY I would not, I would not want to speculate on, on what the future might hold, but we do think that the appropriate thing for him to do is to comply with the U.N. Security Council resolutions, and allow those inspectors to come back in.

SAWYER And will allies' reservations stop us from doing anything?

CHENEY I, I will simply leave it where it's at. The president's made it clear what U.S. policy is on, in this regard, and we'll continue to work with our friends in the region and with our allies and with members of the coalition to address not only those problems, but others that are bound to arise as well.

SAWYER I want to play a tape of something you said, and I want to make sure that I get to, to the economy and one question on Congress. But you, in talking about the intelligence and the ability to refine it, I think a lot of people wonder what it means, now, in terms of the high state of alert we're supposed to be on in terms of America's safety. And I — there are so many people who have said to me, I remember when the vice president said something that made me stop and think, "Oh, no, I understand where we are now," and I'm just gonna play it for you, if I can work the machine, which of course is never certain with me.

SAWYER As I say, it was a moment that made so many people stop and think and pause. If there were one thing you could say, right now, to Americans about this future of casualties, here at home, and overseas, what would it be?

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