Dick Cheney on Homeland Security

Vice President of the United States; Former Republican Representative (WY)

Captured or killed thousands of Al Qaida members

Q: What is your plan to capture bin Laden and then to neutralize those who have sprung up to replace him?

A: We've actively and aggressively pursued him. We've captured or killed thousands of Al Qaida in various places around the world and especially in Afghanistan. We'll continue to very aggressively pursue him, and I'm confident eventually we'll get him. The key to success in Afghanistan has been, again, to go in and go after the terrorists, which we've done, and also take down the Taliban regime which allowed them to function there, in effect sponsors, if you will, of the Al Qaida organization. Here we are, two and a half years later, we're four days away from a democratic election, the first one in history in Afghanistan. We've got 10 million voters who have registered to vote, nearly half of them women. That election will put in place a democratically elected government that will take over next December. We've made enormous progress in Afghanistan, in exactly the right direction.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Deal with Zarqawi by taking him out

EDWARDS: If we want to do the things that need to be done to keep this country safe, we can't be dragged kicking and screaming to it. What's happened is the Bush administration opposed the creation of a 9/11 Commission to find out why it happened and what we needed to do. They opposed the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, and then they were for it. We can't react that way. We must be more aggressive.

CHENEY: We know Zarqawi is still in Baghdad today. He is responsible for most of the major car bombings that have killed or maimed thousands of people. He's the one you will see on the evening news beheading hostages. He is, without question, a bad guy. He is, without question, a terrorist. He was, in fact, in Baghdad before the war, and he's in Baghdad now after the war. The fact of the matter is that this is exactly the kind of track record we've seen over the years. We have to deal with Zarqawi by taking him out, and that's exactly what we'll do.

Source: [Xref Edwards] Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Use a very aggressive policy of going after the terrorists

CHENEY: I feel very strongly that the significance of 9/11 cannot be underestimated. It forces us to think in new ways about strategy, about national security, about how we structure our forces and about how we use US military power. Some people say we should wait until we are attacked before we use force. I would argue we've already been attacked. We lost more people on 9/11 than we lost at Pearl Harbor. And I'm a very strong advocate of a very aggressive policy of going after the terrorists and those who support terror.

EDWARDS: We were attacked. But we weren't attacked by Saddam Hussein. The reality is that the best defense is a good offense, which means leading America returning to its proud tradition of the last 75 years, of once again leading strong coalitions so we can get at these terrorist cells where they are, before they can do damage to us and to the American people. We made clear that we will do that, and we will do it aggressively.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

If Bush not elected, great danger of terrorist attack

If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again -- that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States. And then we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
Source: CNN.com Sep 7, 2004

Biggest threat today is terrorists getting nuclear weapons

The biggest threat we face today is having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The president is working with many countries in a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. The world's worst source of nuclear weapons proliferation is out of business and we are safer as a result.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Keynote speech Sep 1, 2004

No permission slip to defend the American people

Sen. Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics. In fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our side. But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Keynote speech Sep 1, 2004

Urged shooting down hijacked planes on 9/11

On Sept. 11, after thinking about what his response would be, Bush cut short his presentation, and watched videos of the attacks. "Were at war," Bush announced to his aides. Bush raced to the airport. At the end of the ride, Bush learned that a third jetliner had slammed into the Pentagon. Over a secure phone, he consulted with Cheney, who was in an emergency bunker underneath the White House grounds. The vice president urged him to authorize military planes to shoot down any commercial airliners that might be controlled by hijackers. Bush called Rumsfeld, who had elected to stay in the burning Pentagon, and conveyed the order. "We're going to find out who did this, and were going to kick their ass," Bush said.

The fact that Cheney recommended shooting down any commercial planes that might have been hijacked validated Bush's decision to place him on the ticket. Only someone with his experience in the Defense Department could have conceived on the spot of such a drastic but necessary measure.

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.138-39 Aug 5, 2004

Steady, focused, relentless campaign against US enemies

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11, people in every part of the country, regardless of party, took great comfort and pride in the conduct and character of our President. From that day to this, he has led a steady, focused, and relentless campaign against the enemies who struck America that morning and killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens.

Not long after September 11th, one high-ranking al Qaeda official said, "This is the beginning of the end for America." It's pretty clear this terrorist did not know us. It's clear the terrorists who attacked us did not understand the strength and the resilience of this country. And they, clearly, did not understand the determination of our President.

Source: Campaign speech in Jackson Mississippi Dec 15, 2003

Swift retaliation for USS Cole terrorist attack

Dick Cheney urged “swift retaliation” against those responsible for the apparent suicide bombing of a US destroyer, an attack that is presumed to have killed 17 sailors. “Any would-be terrorist out there needs to know that if you’re going to attack, you’ll be hit very hard and very quick,” Cheney said after a speech at a senior citizens center. “It’s not time for diplomacy and debate. It’s time for action.” The apparent terrorist bombing of the USS Cole near Yemen has provided Cheney with a potent anecdote in calling for a stronger national defense. While not assigning blame in Thursday’s attack on the Navy ship, Cheney said, “it’s still a hostile and dangerous world out there.”
Source: Boston Globe, “Political Briefs,” p. A4 Oct 14, 2000

American military is worse off today than in 1992

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: The US military is worse off today than it was eight years ago. A high priority will be to rebuild the US military, to give them the resources they need to do the job we ask them to do for us and to give them good leadership.

LIEBERMAN: I want to assure the American people that the American military is the best-trained, best-equipped, most powerful force in the world, and that Al Gore and I will do whatever it takes to keep them that way. It’s not right and it’s not good for our military to run them down, essentially, in the midst of a partisan political debate. And judging by its results, from Desert Storm to Kosovo, the American military has performed brilliantly.

CHENEY: The facts are dramatically different. I’m not attacking the military, Joe. I have enormous regard for the men and women of the US military. But it’s irresponsible to suggest that we should not have this debate in a presidential campaign.

Source: Vice-presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

We must not send unprepared, demoralized troops to war

Q: How do you assess the military?

LIEBERMAN: Secretary Cohen, General Shelton, will tell you that the military is ready. If you look at our budget, we commit more than twice as much as Governor Bush. I don’t want the American people to feel insecure. We have met our recruitment targets in each of the services this year. In fact, in the areas where our opponents have said we are overextended, such as the Balkans, the soldiers there have the highest rate of reenlistment than anywhere else. This administration has begun to transform the military to prepare it to meet the threats of weapons of mass destruction, of ballistic missiles, of terrorism.

CHENEY: Everybody wearing the uniform is a volunteer. When we don’t give them leadership, we undermine morale. There is no more important responsibility for a president than his role as commander in chief, and his decision when to send our men and women to war. When we send them without the right kind of training, we put their lives at risk.

Source: (X-ref Lieberman) Vice-Presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

We cannot allow Saddam to have nuclear weapons

Q: If Saddam Hussein were found to be developing weapons of mass destruction, Governor Bush has said he would “Take him out.” Would you agree?

CHENEY: We might have no choice. At the end of the war, we had pretty well decimated their military. We had a strong international coalition against them, effective economic sanctions and a very robust inspection plan. Now we have a situation where the coalition now no longer is tied tightly together. Recently two Gulf states have reopened diplomatic relations with Baghdad. The Russians and the French now are flying commercial airliners into Baghdad. UN inspectors have been kicked out. If Saddam Hussein were taking steps to rebuild nuclear capability or weapons of mass destruction, we’d have to give very serious consideration to military action to. I don’t think you can afford to have a man like Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Restore bond of trust between military and President

Source: Speech to Southern Center for Intl. Relations, Atlanta Aug 30, 2000

Warned of nuclear proliferation in 1990s

On the important problem of arms control, Cheney and General Powell tried to reach consensus on DoD’s position in order to deal more effectively with the State Department. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cheney worried about the dangers of nuclear proliferation and effective control of nuclear weapons from the Soviet nuclear arsenal that had come under the control of newly independent republics-Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan- as well as in Russia itself. Cheney warned about the possibility that other nations, such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, would acquire nuclear components after the Soviet collapse. He supported the initiatives that President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin took in 1991 and 1992 to cut back the production and deployment of nuclear weapons and to move toward new arms control agreements.
Source: DefenseLink.mil, “SecDef Histories” Jan 1, 1997

Complained that Congress gave DoD unwanted weapons & forces

In his budget proposal for FY 1993, Cheney asked for termination of the B-2 program at 20 aircraft, cancellation of the Midgetman, and limitations on advanced cruise missile purchases. When introducing this budget, Cheney complained that Congress had directed Defense to buy weapons it did not want, including the V-22, M-1 tanks, and F-14 and F-16 aircraft, and required it to maintain some unneeded reserve forces. His plan outlined about $50 billion less over the next 5 years than in 1991.
Source: DefenseLink.mil, “SecDef Histories” Jan 1, 1997

Added technology & infrastructure as pillars of military

Just before he left office, Cheney released a paper dealing with defense strategy for the 1990s in which he elaborated his strategic views, underscoring the importance of strategic deterrence and defense, forward presence, and crisis response. He added “science and technology” and “infrastructure and overhead” to the traditional pillars of military capability-readiness, sustainability, modernization, and force structure.
Source: DefenseLink.mil, “SecDef Histories” Jan 1, 1997

Americans support force when appropriate & clear objective

One of the lessons of [Desert Storm], I think, is the willingness of the American people to support a resort to force when it’s appropriate, when you have a clear-cut objective; that the nation, contrary to some of the expectations early on, responded overwhelmingly to the decision to commit forces. I am convinced that calling up a quarter of a million reservists played a very significant role in all of that as well; that it served not only to give us the capability we needed to undertake the deployment, but also triggered support all around the country, because every community, every state, and millions of families were affected by that decision to commit the forces, and they understood immediately what was at stake.
Source: Speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Apr 29, 1991

Supported fully funding SDI in 1990s

The funding level is the minimum needed to sustain a viable SDI program. This reflects the DoD’s commitment to spending restraint in keeping with current budget circumstances. Given the importance that the President and I attach to this vital program, any further reductions would be unacceptable. A reduction would force a drastic restructuring of the SDI program, including a substantial delay in obtaining program objectives critical to our national defense posture in the future.
Source: Congressional Record, letter to House of Representatives May 24, 1989

Co-sponsored SDI; “peace thru strength”; base closings

Source: Thomas Register of Congressional Votes Jan 1, 1986

Criticizes Clinton/Gore’s neglect, not military itself

To point out that our military has been overextended, taken for granted, and neglected - that is no criticism of the military. That is a criticism of a president and a vice president, and the record they have built together.

I would suggest to Mr. Gore that when he speaks of “running down the military,” he has made a poor choice of words. When you triple our commitments around the world, while at the same time taking the Army from 14 divisions down to 10, the Air Force from 17 wings to 13, and the Navy from well over 400 ships down toward fewer than 300 - that, Mr. Gore, is “running down the military.”

We all know that everyone in the service, from the highest officer to the newest recruit, is not fully free to speak about mission or morale. That is as it should be. But for the Vice President to claim - on their behalf, without fear of contradiction - that all is well in the military, is only to take further advantage of them.

Source: Speech to Southern Center for Intl. Relations, Atlanta Aug 30, 2000

Dick Cheney on Gulf War

Gulf War: Rejected frontal assault in favor of “left hook”

During the early stages of planning for the Gulf War, General Schwarzkopf presented a combat plan that called for sending US troops directly at the center of the Iraqi line to drive the enemy forces from Kuwait. Cheney thought this a bad idea and he rejected it. Cheney believed it might be more effective, and cause fewer American casualties, to send troops around to the left of the battle front and attack the Iraqis from the rear - the famous ‘’left hook’’ that Schwarzkopf eventually adopted with such success.

Cheney says his best decision was to suggest Colin Powell become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But Cheney wasn’t afrgaid to rebuke his friend. Powell, in his autobiography, ‘’My American Journey,’’ recalls that Cheney was upset with him for questioning the idea of liberating Kuwait. Powell thought it made more sense to defend Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. ‘’Colin, you’re chairman of the Joint Chiefs,’’ Powell quoted Cheney as saying. ‘So stick to military matters.’’

Source: Michael Kranish and Fred Kaplan, Boston Globe. P. A14 Jul 27, 2000

Congressional authorization wasn’t needed for Kuwait

Q: Do you recall discussing with the President what he would have done if he’d lost the Congressional vote?

A: It was my view at the time that we were absolutely committed to getting Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait one way or the other, no matter what we had to do. We had to have the Saudis as allies in that venture, but if no-one else had been with us if it had just been the US and Saudi Arabia, without the UN, without the authorisation of the Congress, we were prepared to go ahead. I argued in public session before the Congress that we did not need Congressional authorisation. That in fact we had the Truman precedent from the Korean crisis of 1950 that the Senate and all ratified the UN charter. By this time the UN Security Council had authorised the use of force, saying that we could do it by January 15th if he wasn’t out by then and that legally and from a constitutional stand point we had all the authority we needed. [However], I think having had the Congress vote ultimately was a major plus.

Source: PBS FrontLine interview Jan 9, 1996

Gulf War: No, we should not have gone to Baghdad

Should we, perhaps, have gone in to Baghdad? Did we leave the job in some respects unfinished? I think the answer is a resounding “no.”

One of the reasons we were successful from a military perspective was because we had very clear-cut military objectives. The President gave us an assignment that could be achieved by the application of military force. He said, “Liberate Kuwait.” He said, “Destroy Saddam Hussein’s offensive capability,” -- both definable military objectives. And as soon as we had achieved those objectives, we stopped hostilities, on the grounds that we had in fact fulfilled our objective.

Now, the notion that we should have somehow continued for another day to two is, I think, fallacious. At the time that we made the decision to stop hostilities, it was the unanimous recommendation of the President’s military advisors that we had indeed achieved our objectives, and therefore it was time to stop the killing and the destruction.

Source: Speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Apr 29, 1991

Gulf War: We did it right to avoid a quagmire

Some have suggested that if we had gotten involved just a little bit -- for example, if we had shot down a few helicopters -- it would have changed the outcome of the conflict. I think that is a misguided notion. One of the lessons that comes out of all of this is we should not ask our military personnel to engage “a little bit” in a war. If you are going to go to war, let’s send the whole group; let’s make certain that we’ve got a force of sufficient size, as we did when we went into Kuwait, so that we do not suffer any more casualties than are absolutely necessary.

I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.

Source: Speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Apr 29, 1991

Dick Cheney on Military Rebuilding

US military is best in world, but trend is wrong direction

Dick Cheney says Al Gore’s unwillingness to acknowledge the military’s problems with money, morale, and readiness makes him unfit to become commander-in-chief. “We’ve got the best military in the world today, but the trend is in the wrong direction,” Cheney said. “Either Al Gore doesn’t know what’s going on or he’s choosing not to tell the truth. That’s unacceptable in a man who would be commander-in-chief.” Gore’s campaign said Gore is committed to the military.
Source: Boston Globe, “Campaign Journal,” p. A12 Oct 10, 2000

Military reductions are too much for post-Cold War

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: [The US has experienced a] reduction in our forces far beyond anything that was justified by the end of the Cold War. At the same time, we’ve seen a rapid expansion of our commitments around the world as troops have been sent hither and yon. We’re over-committed and we’re under-resourced. This has had some other unfortunate effects. As equipment gets old, it has to be replaced. And we’ve taken money out of the procurement budget to support other ventures; we have not been investing in the future of the US military.

LIEBERMAN: And the fact is that Governor Bush recommended in his major policy statement on the military earlier this year that we skip the next generation of military equipment: helicopters, submarines, tactical air fighters, all the rest. That would really cripple our readiness, exactly the readiness that Dick Cheney is talking about.

Source: (X-ref Lieberman) Vice-presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Decreased army means increased risk to lives of troops

Since 1990, America has pursued a strategy that would allow us to fight two wars simultaneously, and win both decisively, with the lowest possible risk to our troops. The risk [for today’s smaller armed forces involved in two simultaneous wars] would now be “moderate” risk in the first, and “high” risk in the second. And how would that risk be measured? Ultimately, it could be in the lives of our troops.
Source: Speech to Southern Center for Intl. Relations, Atlanta Aug 30, 2000

Military today is overused and underresourced

Source: Speech to Southern Center for Intl. Relations, Atlanta Aug 30, 2000

Need to spend more, but spend it wisely

Source: Speech to Southern Center for Intl. Relations, Atlanta Aug 30, 2000

Cautious cuts: A-12, V22, F14D, Seawolf, 500,000 troops

[While secretary of defense in the early 1990s], Cheney presented defense budgets that cut spending, but cautiously. He thought Gorbachev’s successor might be even more hostile to the West than those before him. ‘’Cheney is not a fan of negotiated arms control,’’ [former national security adviser Brent] Scowcroft said.

Still, by 1991, Cheney eventually agreed to arms control proposals. Cheney killed a number of major weapons systems, most notably the Navy’s A-12 Stealth fighter-which, at $30-$60 billion, was the biggest program ever terminated by a defense secretary. He also tried to kill the V22 vertical take-off aircraft, the F14D fighter jet, and the Seawolf submarine. But Congress restored them to the budget. Cheney also moved to cut the armed forces by a half-million troops, and to shut down more than 40 military bases that, as a result, would no longer be needed. He also held the B-2 Stealth bomber program to 20 planes, when the Air Force wanted at least four times that number.

Source: Michael Kranish and Fred Kaplan, Boston Globe. P. A14 Jul 27, 2000

In Congress, consistently voted to raise military spending

[In Congress in the 1980s], Dick Cheney consistently voted to raise military spending. He also supported aid to the Nicaraguan rebels, even after a moratorium on funding was passed.
Source: CNN.com Jul 24, 2000

Downsized military while protecting “people programs”

Cheney held to two overriding priorities-protecting people programs (including training, pay, housing allowances, and medical care), and using proven hardware rather than rushing into complicated new technologies. He thought it better, if cuts had to be made, to have a smaller but highly trained and equipped force rather than maintain previous levels of strength without sufficient readiness. Cheney preferred to cut some conventional weapon systems rather than strategic systems.
Source: DefenseLink.mil, “SecDef Histories” Jan 1, 1997

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Dick Cheney on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts