Kansas City, Mo. A U.S. invasion of Iraq would destroy the United Nations, former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite said.
While in town Friday to support his cousin, Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, in her bid for re-election, Cronkite said a U.S. invasion would plunge this country into financial chaos. He agreed that Saddam Hussein was dangerous, but said American diplomacy has been poor.
"We have shown arrogance, almost an egotism, in our conduct of foreign policy so that we have alienated most of our former allies in the world," Cronkite said.
"I think (it) is going to get us in very serious trouble."
The 86-year-old Cronkite, who was the anchor of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962-81, asked why American troops could not remain on Iraq's doorstep.
They would be ready to respond instantly if Saddam showed evidence of atomic, biological or chemical weapons, he said.
Cronkite also warned that the cost of the war and its aftermath, coupled with Bush's proposed tax cuts, would leave a national debt "that our grandchildren's grandchildren will be paying for. That's a terrible legacy for any generation to leave."
Cronkite, a St. Joseph native, began his career as a 9-year-old newsboy hawking The Kansas City Star and reached its pinnacle at the anchor desk for CBS, where for nearly two decades he earned the nickname, "the most trusted man in America."
Cronkite said the biggest problem he saw facing Kansas City was the deterioration of its downtown, which he remembered for its vibrancy and its department stores.