Defense Secretary Dick Cheney says the allies may need to keep sanctions on Iraq after driving it from Kuwait in order to prevent Saddam Hussein from rebuilding his war machine.
Cheney on Sunday left open the possibility that Saddam may still be in power in post-war Iraq, even with most of his military might dismantled.A prominent Democrat cautioned the White House against making Saddam's ouster one of its war aims.
Rep. Les Aspin, D-Wis., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said that if the forces that liberate Kuwait have to press on to Baghdad, "this war is going to take a lot longer and . . . a lot more casualties."
Two weeks of bombing have curtailed Iraq's capacity to wage nuclear, chemical and biological warfare and damaged its elite Republican Guard, Cheney said on ABC-TV's "This Week with David Brinkley."
Even so, the defense secretary said, "I think the world has a long-term interest in seeing to it that Saddam Hussein is never able to do this again."
The allies might "want to maintain sanctions . . . to deny him the ability to rebuild that military force that he's used against his neighbors," Cheney said.
Aspin, on NBC's "Meet the Press," said, "we should not rush" into a ground war.
"The air war is our war," he said. "The ground war is (Saddam's) war. Time is on our side with the air war."
The Army, meanwhile, played down the discovery of a transmission defect in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Associated Press on Saturday reported that the service was rushing to inspect the Bradleys after a Pentagon memo warned the defect could limit the vehicles' maximum speed.
"I have over 100,000 combat systems and vehicles in this theater," said Lt. Gen. John J. Yeosock of the U.S. Central Command. The Bradley problem should not cause "any undue alarm or concern," he said on CBS-TV's "Face the Nation."