Who Said This? (And Why You Should Care)

by Chris Borgen

Before turning to some of the broader themes that Chollet and Goldgeier have set out, in this post I want to focus our readers on two quotes from one person. The authors describe how, in the days after the 1991 Gulf War, an interested party was asked about why we did not drive all the way to Baghdad and oust Saddam. (I won’t say yet if it was an Administration official, another politician, or a think tank expert.) The answer, even in 1991, was prescient:

“Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government would we have? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shia government, a Kurdish government?… Would it be fundamentalist Islamic?… I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept the responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. It makes no sense at all.”

This person added at another time:

“I think that was a quagmire we did not want to get involved in.”

Who was being interviewed and what does this have to do with the broader themes of America Between the Wars? The answer is after the jump…


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