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Q. But that could be part of the cost of implementing them.
A. Well, that could be. But I do not like to have anybody say, hey, he is willing to sacrifice lives. I do not want to see one kid lose his life. Not one.
Q. Are you sleeping well at night knowing that you may have to make the decision to take this country to war?
A. Yes. Yes. And I have concluded that it is the guy who sits at that desk that makes the decision. Maybe that is why I am I will not say relaxed, but determined. And I am not churning about it. Because I know what has to be done. And I know the promise of a new world order if it is done right. I know the devastating effect on the world if it is done wrong, if we fail, if the United States is unwilling to back the newest, most hopeful peacekeeping mission of the United Nations since 1948. For the U.S. to be the one that says we are not going to fulfill this resolution is just not thinkable to me. We will. We will do what we have got to do.
Q. You mentioned the new world order. Isn't that just another way of saying the U.S. will remain the world's policeman?
A. Clearly, the U.S. has a disproportionate responsibility when it comes to helping secure the world. I would not call it the world's policeman because there are certain areas where we wouldn't be in a position to act or want to act. But we have a disproportionate responsibility for the freedom and the security of various countries. And a lot of what is at stake in the gulf relates to that. Not that we have to do it just so the U.S. preserves its position. People are looking to us for leadership. They are looking to us to help effect a more stable and secure gulf, for example. We have got the credibility where others might not have as much. We are still respected, and we are still looked to for this kind of leadership.
Q. You've described yourself as a strict constructionist where the Constitution is concerned. How do you construct strictly the words "Congress shall have the power to declare war"?
A. They have got it right now. I have the powers of the Commander in Chief. There are a lot of historical precedents involved in all of this. You have the War Powers Resolution, you have the fact of some 200 applications of force, five of which were solemnified by a declaration of war. So we look at history, and we talk to lawyers. We consult [with Congress].
Q. Is it a political question? Do you think you would not get a declaration or a resolution from this Congress to support the use of force in the gulf?
A. I am not sure. That was the question I asked a couple of weeks ago. We have got to see the mood that Congress is in. And if Congress wants to clearly endorse the policy of the United States Government and wants to endorse what the United Nations has done, that would be one good way to take a good step for peace. Because that would remove one of the questions that is in Saddam Hussein's mind. The question is, How divided is the country? And if they saw a Congress united behind the President, that would send a very powerful message to Saddam Hussein. But if Congress did it like the school board that voted 3 to 2 to name this elementary school in Midland, Texas, the George Bush Elementary School, I do not think that would send an overwhelming message to Saddam Hussein.
Q. What does your gut say? Will there be a war?
A. Oh, God [pause]. My gut says he will get out of there. But that flies in the face of what some of the Arab leaders tell me, which is that he cannot get out. He cannot do in Kuwait what he did in Iran. He cannot do it and survive domestically. I do not have that much of a feel. I just think that any person who has fought a war, once he understands what he is up against in terms of power, is going to have to find a way to see that he does not fight another one. But I am determined that I will do, and must do, what is called for under the U.N. resolutions, all of them. That includes every inch of territory. No concessions.
We have got to and will continue right down that path. And I hope it is the path that leads to peace. But you asked the toughest question of all. I had a Congressman in here today, and he said to me, "You know, my brother was killed in Vietnam. You've just got to wait." And I said, "You are looking at a guy that had a squadron of 15, and nine of them were killed in one way or another. I know exactly what you are talking about."
With Stanley W. Cloud, Michael Duffy and Dan Goodgame
Next Saddam Hussein