E. J. Dionne Jr., writing in the Washington Post, provides a transcript of a "Meet the Press" program from March 16, 2003, featuring Vice President Dick Cheney. Here are a few passages:
Host Tim Russert: We would “have to have several hundred thousand troops there" in Iraq "for several years in order to maintain stability."
Cheney: "I disagree…to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don't think is accurate. I think that's an overstatement."
Russert: "If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?"
Cheney: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House…The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want [is to] get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."
Russert: "And you are convinced the Kurds, the Sunnis, the Shiites will come together in a democracy?"
Cheney: "They have so far. I think the prospects of being able to achieve this kind of success, if you will, from a political standpoint, are probably better than they would be for virtually any other country and under similar circumstances in that part of the world."