Dick Cheney on War & Peace

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

FactCheck: Oct. 2002 vote for appropriate force, not for war

CHENEY: It's awfully hard to convey a sense of credibility to allies when you voted for the war and then you voted against supporting the troops. with the resources they needed-body armor, spare parts, ammunition. They voted against it.

FACT CHECK: Cheney repeatedly said Edwards had voted "for the war" and "to commit the troops," when in fact the Iraq resolution that both Kerry and Edwards supported left the decision to the president and called for intensified diplomacy. The resolution for which Edwards and Kerry voted said, "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate." And Edwards made clear in a statement at the time of his vote that he hoped to avoid war by enlisting broad support from the United Nations and US allies: In fact, not even Bush himself characterized the resolution as a vote "for war" at the time.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis (Ad-Watch by FactCheck.org) Oct 6, 2004

FactCheck: Iraqi portion of losses is 38%, not "almost 50%"

EDWARDS: We've taken 90% of the coalition causalities . American taxpayers have borne 90% of the costs of the effort in Iraq.

CHENEY: The 90% figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well a the allies, they've taken almost 50% of the casualties in operations in Iraq , which leaves the US with 50%, not 90%.

FACT CHECK: Both men have a point here, but Edwards is closer to the mark. Edwards is correct counting only "coalition" forces-those of the US, Britain and the other countries that took part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. 1,066 US service men and women had died from hostile action and other causes during the Iraq operation as of Oct. 5, of a total 1,205 for all coalition countries. That's just over 88% of the coalition deaths. For Iraqi security forces, estimates put the figure at 750, producing a total of 1,955. Of that, the Iraqi portion is 38% (not "almost 50%" as Cheney claimed) and the US total amounts to 55%.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis (Ad-Watch by FactCheck.org) Oct 6, 2004

FactCheck: Cheney DID suggest connection between Iraq & 9/11

CHENEY: Edwards has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11.

FACT CHECK: The Washington Post reported Oct. 6 that Cheney often "skated close to the line in ways that may have certainly left that impression on viewers," especially by repeatedly citing the possibility that hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi official, a theory disputed by the 9/11 Commission.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis (Ad-Watch by FactCheck.org) Oct 6, 2004

Cheney would `recommend' Iraq war again

EDWARDS: Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people: I don't think the country can take four more years of this kind of experience.

CHENEY: What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action.

Source: V.P. debate reported in Indian Express Oct 6, 2004

No link between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein

Q: Did the report from the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority that you received a week ago show there was no connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein?

A: Saddam Hussein had been, for years, listed on the state sponsor of terror, they he had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with Al Qaida. Specifically, look at George Tenet, the CIA director's testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations two years ago when he talked about a 10-year relationship. The effort that we've mounted with respect to Iraq focused specifically on the possibility that this was the most likely nexus between the terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. The biggest threat we faced today is the possibility of terrorists smuggling a nuclear weapon or a biological agent into one of our own cities and threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

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

Never suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11

EDWARDS: We went into Afghanistan and very quickly the Bush administration made a decision to divert attention from that and instead began to plan for the invasion of Iraq. Listen carefully to what the Cheney is saying. Because there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th-period. The 9/11 Commission has said that's true. Colin Powell has said it's true. Cheney keeps suggesting that there is. There is not any connection with Al Qaida is tenuous at best.

CHENEY: I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror. And the point is that that's the place where you're most likely to see the terrorists come together with weapons of mass destruction, the deadly technologies that Saddam Hussein had developed and used over the years. Edwards and Kerry have got a very limited view about how to use US military forces to defend America.

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

We've made significant progress in Iraq

EDWARDS: We lost more troops month after month. There are Republican leaders, like John McCain, Richard Lugar, and Chuck Hagel, who have said Iraq is a mess and it's getting worse. Lugar said because of the incompetence of the administration. What Paul Bremer said yesterday is they didn't have enough troops to secure the country. They also didn't have a plan to win the peace. They also didn't put the alliances together to make this successful.

CHENEY: We've made significant progress in Iraq. We've stood up a new government that's been in power now only 90 days. The notion of additional troops is talked about frequently, but the point of success in Iraq will be reached when we have turned governance over to the Iraqi people; they have been able to establish a democratic government. They're well on their way to doing that. They will have free elections next January for the first time in history. We also are actively, rapidly training Iraqis to take on the security responsibility.

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

Sending more troops won't solve the problems in Iraq

If our commanders need more troops, they'll ask us. The key is not to try to solve the problems in Iraq by putting in more American troops, but to get the Iraqis to take on the responsibility for their own security. That's exactly what we're doing. If you put American troops in there in larger number and don't get the Iraqis into the fight, you'll postpone the day when you can in fact bring our boys home. It's vital that we deal with any need for additional troops by putting Iraqis into the effort.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Terrorist enemy's hatred of us is limitless

Four years ago, some said the world had grown calm, and many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to danger. That thought might have been comforting; it was also false. Like other generations of Americans, we soon discovered that history had great and unexpected duties in store for us.

Sept. 11th, 2001, made clear the challenges we face. On that day we saw the harm that could be done by 19 men armed with knives and boarding passes. America also awakened to a possibility even more lethal: this enemy, whose hatred of us is limitless, armed with chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons.

Just as surely as the Nazis during World War Two and the Soviet communists during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction. As in other times, we are in a war we did not start, and have no choice but to win. Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by a superb commander in chief, we will prevail.

Source: 2004 Republican Convention Keynote speech Sep 1, 2004

US beat communism because of leadership & military force

In 1989, Cheney became George H. W. Bush's secretary of defense. While in that position, he recommended that the select Colin Powell to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cheney directed the 1991 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Cheney described Churchill as the first author to have had a profound impact on him. Churchill's six-volume history of World War II impressed upon Cheney the point that leadership in world affairs is about recognizing dangers and confronting them rather than wishing them away. "The reason that the twentieth century ended with the forces of communism and fascism defeated and with capitalism and democracy increasing as the political and economic models people aspire to," Cheney would say, "is due in no small part to US leadership backed by military force.

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.140-41 Aug 5, 2004

Biggest threat comes from WMD and from Saddam

Cheney thought that the Clinton administration had failed in its response to terrorist acts, going back to the World Trade Center bombing, in 1993, and that there had been a pattern of weak responses: not enough response to the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa; none to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

After Sept. 11, it was clear to Cheney that the threat from terrorism had grown enormously. First, the standard of proof would have to be lowered-irrefutable smoking-gun evidence would not have to be required for the US to defend itself. Second, defense alone wasn't enough. They needed an offense.

The most serious threat now facing the US was a nuclear weapon or a biological or chemical agent in the hands of a terrorist inside the country's borders. And everything, in his view, had to be done to stop it. "The vice president, after 9/11, clearly saw Saddam Hussein as a threat to peace," Bush said. "And was unwavering in his view that Saddam was a real danger."

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 20, 2004

UN inspections would not reduce WMD threat

[In Aug. 2002, Cheney made a series of speeches]. "A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with UN resolutions," Cheney said of Hussein. "On the contrary, there is a great danger that it would provide false comfort that Saddam was somehow 'back in the box.' "

"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction [and] there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us," including "an aggressive nuclear weapons program." Ten days earlier, the president himself had said only that Hussein "desires" these weapons. Neither Bush nor the CIA had made any assertion comparable to Cheney's.

Cheney also said that these weapons in the hands of a "murderous dictator" are "as great a threat as can be imagined. The risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action." These remarks, just short of a declaration of war, were widely interpreted as administration policy.

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 20, 2004

Contradicted Powell and sought to connect Saddam and 9/11

Powell thought that Cheney had the fever. The vice president kept looking for the connection between Hussein and Sept. 11. He saw in Cheney a sad transformation. The cool operator from the first Gulf War just would not let go. Cheney now had an unhealthy fixation. Nearly every conversation or reference came back to al Qaeda and trying to nail the connection with Iraq. He would often have an obscure piece of intelligence. Powell thought that Cheney took intelligence and converted uncertainty and ambiguity into fact.

It was about the worst charge that Powell could make about the vice president. But there it was. Cheney would take an intercept and say it shows something was happening. No, no, no, Powell or another would say, it shows that somebody talked to somebody else who said something might be happening. A conversation would suggest something might be happening, and Cheney would convert that into a "We know." Well, Powell concluded, we didn't know. No one knew.

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 20, 2004

WMD inspections makes decision to take out Saddam harder

Cheney listed reasons inspections [for Iraqi weapons] could mire them in a tar pit. First, the inspectors would be lawyers and experts from around the world who were less concerned about, and less skeptical of, Saddam. Second, these inspectors would be more inclined to accept what they were told by Iraqi authorities, less likely to challenge, more likely to be fooled. The end result would be inconclusive. So inspections would make getting to a decision to actually take out Saddam much more difficult.
Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, p.176 Apr 19, 2004

Pre-war planning: once the war starts, Saddam is "toast"

"What is the chance of Saddam surviving this?" [Saudi ambassador] Prince Bandar asked. He believed Hussein was intent on killing everyone involved at a high level with the 1991 Persian Gulf War, including himself. Rumsfeld didn't answer. "Saddam, this time, will be out, period?" Bandar asked skeptically.

Cheney replied, "Prince Bandar, once we start, Saddam is toast."

After Bandar had left, Rumsfeld voiced some concern about the "toast" remark. "What was that all about, Dick?"

"I didn't want to leave any doubt in his mind what we're planning to do," Cheney said.

[The next day, to Bush], Bandar said, "People are not going to shed tears over Saddam Hussein, but if he's attacked one more time by America and he stays in power after you've finished this, yes, everybody will follow his word." The problem would be if Hussein survived. The Saudis needed assurance that Hussein was going to be toast. Bush said, "The message [from Cheney that] you're taking is mine, Bandar."

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 18, 2004

Sticking to story about Saddam/Al Qaeda connection

Cheney took a dig-in-his-heels approach regarding Iraqi WMD and a Saddam/Al-Qaeda connection. While even Rummey, Condi, and Wolfowitz were splitting verbal hairs trying to back away from their apocalyptic prewar claims-"Did I say 500 tons of sarin and 25,000 liters of anthrax? I meant `weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.'"-Cheney merely reloaded and kept on firing with both barrels.

To his hawkish eyes, a lone pair of souped-up flatbed trucks are "conclusive evidence" of Saddam's WMD, and a memo that the Pentagon has labeled "inaccurate" provides, according to Cheney, "overwhelming evidence" that the former Butcher of Baghdad and Osama bin Laden had an "established relationship."

He even persists in serving up that thoroughly moldy chestnut about head-hijacker Mohammed Atta hooking up with an Iraqi spy in Prague, despite the fact that the FBI has long since concluded that Atta was actually tooling around Florida in a rental car at the time of the alleged meeting.

Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p.118 Apr 14, 2004

Saddam had intent to create WMD

"We know that Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction. And Saddam Hussein had something else -- he had a record of using weapons of mass destruction against his enemies and against his own people."
Source: Dana Milbank, Washington Post Feb 8, 2004

Iraq is the central front in the war on terror

In Iraq, a ruthless dictator cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He gave support to terrorists and had relationships with al Qaeda-and his regime is no more.

Freedom still has enemies in Iraq. These terrorists are targeting the very success and the freedom that we're providing for the Iraqi people.

Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror. And we are rolling back the terrorist threat at the heart of its power. We are striking aggressively at the terrorists in Iraq, defeating them there, so we do not have to face them on the streets of our own cities.

We are calling on other nations to help Iraqis build a free country, which will make all of us more secure. We are standing with the Iraqi people as they assume more responsibilities for their own security and self-government. These are not easy tasks, but they are absolutely essential. We will finish what we have begun, and we will win this essential victory in the war on terror.

Source: Campaign speech in Jackson Mississippi Dec 15, 2003

Most dire view of terrorist threat of all Bush advisers

Cheney is free to roam about the various agencies, quizzing analysts and top spooks about terrorists and their global connections. "This is a very important area. I ask a lot of hard questions. That's my job."

Of all the president's advisers, Cheney has consistently taken the most dire view of the terrorist threat. On Iraq, Bush was the decision maker. But more than any adviser, Cheney was the one to make the case to the president that war against Iraq was an urgent necessity. Beginning in Aug. 2002, he persistently warned that Saddam was stocking up on chemical and biological weapons, and in March 2003, on the eve of the invasion, he declared that "we believe that he Saddam Hussein has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons." (Cheney later said that he meant "program," not "weapons." He also said, a bit optimistically, "I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.") After seven months, investigators are still looking for that arsenal of WMD.

Source: Newsweek cover story Nov 17, 2003

UN made itself irrelevant by irresoluteness on Iraq

"I think the speech at the UN ought to be about Iraq," Cheney said, but the UN ought to be made the issue. It should be challenged and criticized. "Tell them it's not about us. It's about you. You are not important." The UN was not enforcing more than a decade of resolutions ordering Hussein to destroy his weapons of mass destruction and allow weapons inspectors inside Iraq. The UN was running the risk of becoming irrelevant and would be the loser if it did not do what was necessary.

Rice agreed. The UN had become too much like the post-World War I League of Nations-a debating society with no teeth. They all agreed that the president should not go to the UN to ask for a declaration of war.

Cheney argued that to ask for a new resolution would put them back in the soup of the UN process-hopeless, endless & irresolute. All the president should say is that Hussein is bad, has willfully violated, ignored and stomped on the UN resolutions of the past, and the US reserves its right to act unilaterally.

Source: Bush At War, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Nov 17, 2002

Need leadership and trust to make progress in Mideast

Q: Do you agree with US Middle East policy?

LIEBERMAN: America has a national strategic and a principled interest in peace in the Middle East. Al Gore has played a critical role in advancing that process. These peoples have come centuries forward in the last seven years. I pray that the unrest in the last week will not make it hard for them to go back to the peace table. We’ve been on a very constructive course in the Middle East, played a unique role, and Al Gore and I will continue to do that.

CHENEY: We made significant breakthroughs at the end of the Bush administration because of the Gulf War. By virtue of the end of the Cold War, the Soviets were no longer a factor. My guess is that the next administration is going to have to come to grips with the current state of affairs. I think it’s very important that we have a president with firm leadership who has the kind of track record of dealing straight with people, so that friends respect us and adversaries fear us.

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

Serbs deserve credit - Russia and US should support them

Q: If Milosevic prevails, would you support his overthrow?

CHENEY: I hope it marks the end of Milosevic. It’s a victory for the Serbian people. This is a continuation of a process that began 10 years ago all across Eastern Europe, and it’s only now arrived in Serbia. We saw it in Germany, we saw it in Romania, we saw it in Czechoslovakia, as the people of Eastern Europe rose up and made their claim for freedom. We want to do everything we can to support Milosevic’s departure. Certainly, though, that would not involve committing U.S. troops. Governor Bush suggested that we ought to try to get the Russians involved to exercise some leverage over the Serbians and Al Gore pooh-poohed it. But now it’s clear from the press that in fact that’s exactly what they were doing. This is an opportunity for the U.S. to test President Putin of Russia, whether or not he’s willing to support the forces of freedom in the area of Eastern Europe.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

US too soft on Iraq

Dick Cheney said yesterday that the Clinton administration had let the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, “slip off the hook” on UN weapons inspections. Cheney said the US had a “very robust” inspection capability under President Bush and after the Gulf War.
Source: Boston Globe, “Campaign Notebook,” p. A28 Sep 21, 2000

Iran: against sanctions; makes oil deals there

Cheney’s oil company has conducted business in Iran and Libya by carefully maneuvering around US sanctions, using foreign-based subsidiaries and workers. Cheney has frequently fought to lift US sanctions against Iran despite concerns about terrorist activity. Just last month, Cheney said that the US should lift sanctions against Iran and allow US oil companies to invest there. “There’s been a decision not to allow US firms to invest significantly in Iran, and I think that’s a mistake,” Cheney said.
Source: Michael Kranish and Walter Robinson, Boston Globe, p. A11 Jul 26, 2000

Gulf War results: stable Arabs; secure Israel; confident US

The situation from the standpoint of our allies in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, is that they have been saved and Kuwait has been liberated, not just by US forces but by coalition forces as well. And an international coalition that involved the governments that represent a majority of the Arab world, fighting alongside US forces, was a very significant development.

Saddam Hussein’s offensive military capability, his capacity to threaten his neighbors, has been virtually eliminated. This is a very significant development.

Israel, I think, from a military standpoint is more secure today than she’s been at any time in the recent past because of the elimination of Iraq’s offensive military threat. A very significant development.

I think would-be aggressors, not only in the Middle East but elsewhere around the world, have to pause and reflect before they contemplate the possibility that aggression is a course that holds rewards for them. A significant development.

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

Critical of Israeli policy which opposes US interests

Throughout his decade-long congressional career. Cheney has been unafraid to criticize Israeli policies he deemed detrimental to US interests.

Cheney noted that he has tried to listen to all sides involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. During one month, he met with [leaders of Israel, Jordan, & Egypt]. Cheney vows to “argue as persuasively as I know how” with his former colleagues on Capitol Hill to adopt a “more balanced policy” in terms of improving relations with Arab nations.

Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 Jul 2, 1989

Supports balance in supplying arms to both Israel & Arabs

Cheney vows to “argue as persuasively as I know how” with his former colleagues on Capitol Hill to adopt a “more balanced policy” in terms of improving relations with Arab nations. Cheney agreed that congressional opposition to US arms sales to friendly Arab states has hurt American interests in the region. “I think the United States does have a role to play in the area that does involve providing our Arab friends as well as our Israeli friends with the equipment they need in order to provide for
Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 Jul 2, 1989

Supported 1986 Libya bombing

Cheney supported the Reagan administration’s bombing of Libya in 1986, saying at the time that he hoped Colonel Qaddafi “has learned his lesson” about the danger of sponsoring terrorist acts. But Cheney has also been willing to criticize Reagan administration foreign policy initiatives-or the lack of them-in the region.
Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 Jul 2, 1989

Israel: Displeased with 1982 invasion of Lebanon

Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Cheney said he was “disappointed that the administration has not been somewhat tougher on Israel. I think we should have expressed our displeasure in no uncertain terms. ” He argued then that Israel had faced no security danger that would have provoked such an attack. “Literally thousands of innocent people have been killed or injured. I find that difficult to accept,” he said then.
Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 Jul 2, 1989

Outraged that Israel spied on US in 1980s

Cheney expressed outrage at the Jonathan Pollard spy case, saying it demonstrated that Israel had waged a deliberate and successful spy campaign against the US. “I consider it an unfriendly act,” Cheney said in 1987, adding that Israel had betrayed its unique bond with the US. “They, on the one hand, plead for a special relationship with the US-a special relationship that has existed for nearly 40 years now. On the other hand, [they] run a major intelligence operation against us,” Cheney said.
Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 Jul 2, 1989

Mideast peace process must include Palestinian statehood

On the question of an independent Palestinian state, Cheney had supported leaving that question to be negotiated between the major parties involved. In July 1982, however, Cheney said, “Any resolution in this conflict which has lasted for more than 30 years must include the formation of a Palestinian state. But I am frankly not optimistic about any resolution in the near future. ”

Cheney, whose prognosis then has proven to be correct, is scarcely less pessimistic about the Middle East seven years later. “You’re talking about animosities that go back centuries,” Cheney said recently in Wyoming. “It’s not an area where you can anticipate that overnight there’s going to be some solution and everybody’s going to say, ‘Great, peace has arrived.’ This requires tough, hard, day-to-day efforts to maintain momentum for peaceful resolution of the conflicts in that part of the world. You cannot expect, given the track record, any quick and easy results.”

Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 Jul 2, 1989

Opposed ground troops in Bosnia

Cheney took a strong stand against use of US ground troops in the vicious civil war in Bosnia between Serbs, Croats, and Muslims that began in April 1992. After the collapse of a collective presidency in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the country split into several independent republics, including Bosnia. Whether and how to intervene in Bosnia evoked an emotional debate in the US, but Cheney left office before any firm decisions were made, and his successors inherited the knotty issue.
Source: DefenseLink.mil, “SecDef Histories” Jan 1, 1997

Other candidates on War & Peace: 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:
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Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
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