MEET THE PRESS
Transcript for March 16
Guest: Vice President Dick Cheney
MEET THE PRESS
Sunday, March 16, 2003
GUEST: Vice President DICK CHENEY
MODERATOR/PANELIST: Tim Russert - NBC News
This is a rush transcript provided for the information and convenience of the press. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
In case of doubt, please check with MEET THE PRESS - NBC NEWS (202)885-4598 (Sundays: (202)885-4200)
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: the president leaves this morning for a final summit meeting on Iraq. What does he hope to achieve?
How close are we to war? We know things are very serious when we hear from this man. In a rare Sunday morning interviewówith us for the full hour, the
vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney.
Mr. Vice President, welcome to MEET THE PRESS.
VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY: Good morning, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: How close are we to war?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think we are still in the final stages of diplomacy, obviously. Thatís one of the main reasons for the presidentís
meeting today with the British and Spanish prime ministers in the Azores. But thereís no question but what weíre close to the end, if you will, of the
diplomatic efforts. We have done virtually everything we can with respect to trying to organize a second resolution in the U.N. Security Council. And,
clearly, the president is going to have to make a very, very difficult
and important decision here in the next few days.
MR. RUSSERT: What could Saddam Hussein do to stop war?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, the difficulty here is itísóheís clearly rejected, up till now, all efforts, time after time after time. And we have
had 12 years and some 17 resolutions now. Each step along the way he had the opportunity to do what he was called upon to do by the U.N. Security
Council. Each time he has rejected it. Iím not sure now, no matter what he said, that anyone would believe him. We have, Tim, been down this effort
now for six months at the U.N. with the enactment of 1441. We asked for a declaration of all of his WMD come clean. He refused to do that. Heís,
again, continued to do everything he could to thwart the inspectors.
Iím hard-put to specify what it is he could do with credibility at this stage that would alter the outcome.
Heís always had the option of coming clean, of complying with the resolution, of giving up all of his weapons of mass destruction, of making
his scientists available without fear of retribution, turning over the anthrax, and the VX nerve agent, and the sarin, and of the other capabilities
he has developed, and he has consistently refused. And if he were to sit here today and say, ìOK, now Iíll do it,î Iím not sure anybody would think
that had credibility.
MR. RUSSERT: If he did come forward and say, you know, ìThe British laid out six benchmarks. I have decided to turn a new leaf. Hereís the VX,
hereís the mustard gas, hereís the anthrax, hereís all the records. I will go on television, denounce weapons of mass destruction, you can take any
scientists you want out of Iraq, all I ask is that I can stay here in power.î
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think we are at the point whereóitís hard for me to conceive of him doing that. And pure speculation that he might
do such a thing. And, of course, the problem we have is what we have seen in the past is that even on those occasions after the í91 Gulf War when we
did strip him of certain capabilities, when the inspectors were able to go in through the work of defectors, for example, and destroy significant
capabilities that he had acquired, and that as soon as they were gone, he was right back in business again.
Rest of interview at above url.
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