Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee clashed Monday over whether economic sanctions will force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.
Cheney, testifying at Senate hearings on the Bush administration's Persian Gulf policy, said he saw "no indication" that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is willing to settle for a peaceful withdrawal."There is no guarantee that sanctions will force him out of Kuwait," Cheney said. He insisted the United States could not "wait indefinitely" for the embargo to work while Saddam uses the time to prepare for an attack.
Cheney's comments prompted committee Chairman Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat and critic of Bush's gulf policy, to question the administration's attitude toward sanctions.
"If we have a war, we're never going to know whether they would have worked, would we?" he asked Cheney.
"That's the major point here. The way you find out if sanctions going to work is to give them enough time to work," Nunn said.
Cheney said Nunn was assuming that sanctions will work if given enough time.
"That's a big assumption," Cheney said. "There's a big difference between saying we know if we use military force we can achieve our objectives (and) it may be, if we wait a year or two, economic sanctions will get him out of Kuwait as well."