Vice President Dan Quayle told U.S. troops today he shares their frustration with Saddam Hussein’s refusal to budge from Kuwait, saying the time for patience is about up.
Quayle spent the eve of 1991 not far from the Kuwaiti front, addressing a crowd of cheering Marines in a Saudi-built stadium dubbed the “Scud Bowl” and playing basketball with fellow Indiana Hoosiers.
“If force is necessary, you will do your job and then go home,” the vice president told the Marines. “It will be quick, massive and decisive.
“This will not be another Vietnam.”
The vice president balked, however, when he was asked later if he regretted never having served in Vietnam, asserting that he was very proud to have served in the Indiana National Guard.
Touring Saudi desert outposts nearly five months after Iraq’s president sent invasion forces into neighboring Kuwait, Quayle sounded pessimistic about prospects for a peaceful settlement.
“You have heard some voices at home urging patience. They say wait a year or two. Let the sanctions work,” he said, referring to the U.N.-imposed economic sanctions against the Baghdad regime.
“But the sanctions have not gotten Saddam out of Kuwait. You have been patient enough and so has President Bush,” Quayle told Marines and Army forces in remarks at two desert bases not far from the Kuwaiti border.
On the second day of a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia, the vice president flew by military helicopter and plowed through desert sands in military convoy vehicles to visit bases bustling with massive war preparations.
The troops received Quayle cordially. Some said they liked the fact that he came to see them; others were indifferent.
“If he could get me out of here, that would be real nice,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Kamoe of Honolulu, whose job is firing Stinger missiles.
Sgt. Michael Collins, of Buffalo, N.Y., alluded to the controversy during the 1988 presidential campaign surrounding allegations that Quayle had used family connections to get enlisted in the Indiana National Guard rather than being drafted during the Vietnam War.
“Honest. We laughed a lot about it,” Collins said.