Wilder Says He’d Have Ended Hussein’s Reign

<i> From Reuters</i>

The United States should have tried to destroy Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf War, Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said in an interview made public Wednesday.

“I would have tried to destroy him however we could have,” said Wilder, who is contemplating a run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1992.

He made the remark during an interview to be broadcast nationwide this weekend on the public television program “American Interests.”


Wilder acknowledged that assassinating a foreign leader would violate U.S. law, but he said he thought that it would not be difficult to find foreigners--perhaps dissident Iraqis or Kurds--”who are so disconcerted by (the situation in Iraq) that they might go in there themselves.”

“The question is what would bring stability,” Wilder said. “I think in the long run, if he (Hussein) continues to be a menace--and I haven’t heard anyone say he wasn’t--the question is whether he should be removed.”

President Bush’s handling of the Gulf War was initially widely hailed by the American public. He has increasingly come under criticism, however, for encouraging Hussein’s overthrow but failing to support the efforts of dissident Iraqis and Kurds who tried to take him at his word.