Prominent neoconservative: 4,000 Americans 'had to die'
Four thousand American troops "had to die" in Iraq, even if the United States knew Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction, a prominent neoconservative said in a shocking interview on MSNBC Tuesday evening.
Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News earlier this week that the U.S. would have invaded Iraq regardless of whether or not they had weapons of mass destruction.
Adding fire to Cheney's surprising comments Tuesday was prominent neoconservative and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, who told MSNBC's Chris Matthews during Tuesday's 'Hardball' that the United States had to invade Iraq whether or not its intelligence was sound.
Asked about why the United States should have invaded Iraq even if they knew there were no WMDs, Gaffney said, "The real reason was we thought he constituted a mortal threat."
"You believe a mortal threat to the United States," Matthews responded, incredulous. "Where do you get this from? What kind of -- where do you get these words from?"
"My position is that it's regrettable that any Americans died. And it is regrettable that they had to die, but I believe they did have to die," said Gaffney. "The threat we did know about is the chemical capability Saddam Hussein used against his own people.... The danger was that inaction could have resulted in the death of many more Americans than 4,000."
Matthews revisited the decision to invade Iraq on "Hardball," with guests neocon Frank Gaffney, and Mother Jones' David Corn during a discussion of weapons of mass destruction and Cheney's admission that the United States would have invaded Iraq regardless of the presence of WMD.
Gaffney is the founder and president of the think tank Center for Security Policy, as well as a contributor, contributing editor, and columnist for a number of publications, including the Washington Times, National Review Online and WorldNetDaily.
"Was there anything Saddam Hussein could have done to stop that war?" Matthews asked Gaffney, and when Gaffney attempted to justify the case for war based on the first Gulf War, and not the presence of weapons of mass destruction.
"Why the long inspections debate if they didn't matter?" Matthews asked. "If they didn't matter, why did we have inspections?"
Cheney's "admitting that they didn't have to have stockpiles for him to believe the war was justified," he added. "That's what's astounding."
This video is from MSNBC's Hardball, broadcast Dec. 16, 2008.
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