Dick Cheney on War & Peace

Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush


Prevent next 9-11 by going on offense in Afghanistan & Iraq

The National Security Council convened shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and the president went around the table, asking each of us for our thoughts on the road ahead. I spoke last. I stressed that preventing the next attack had to be our top priority. We had to make sure we were leaving no stone unturned in that effort.

We also had to realize that defending the homeland would require going on the offense. Relying only on defense was insufficient. The terrorists had to break through our defenses onl one time to have devastating consequences. We needed to go after them where they lived in order to prevent attacks before they were launched.

Although we had discussed Iraq earlier in the day, I also took time now to say that Afghanistan, where the 9/11 terrorists had trained and plotted, should be first. I believed it was important to deal with the threat Iraq posed, but not until we had an effective plan for taking down the Taliban and denying al Qaeda a safe haven in Afghanistan.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.333-334 , Aug 30, 2011

We lost sight of goal of non-nuclear North Korea

The story of our diplomacy with North Korea, particularly in the second term of the Bush presidency, carries with it important lessons for American leaders and diplomats of the future. First is the importance of not losing sight of the objective. In this case, the president had made clear that our goal was getting the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons program. However, as negotiations proceeded, the State Department came to regard getting the North Koreans to agree to something, indeed anything, as the ultimate objective. That mistake led our diplomats to respond to Pyongyang's intransigence and dishonesty with ever greater concessions, thereby encouraging duplicity and double-dealing. And in the end it led them to recommend we accept an agreement that didn't accomplish the president's goal and even set it back.
Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.490-491 , Aug 30, 2011

Should have destroyed North Korean nuclear reactor in Syria

The most effective diplomacy happens when America negotiates from a position of strength. If we remember that our ultimate goal is the substantive one of denuclearization and we are willing to walk away rather than accept a partial, untrue, or damaging agreement, we are in a much stronger position. At the same time, if our adversaries understand we will not compromise on fundamental principles and that we will use military force if necessary, they are much more likely to do business at the negotiating table.

That is why I argued that we should have taken action ourselves to destroy the North Korean-built nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert. It would have sent an unmistakable message to the Syrians, the Iranians and the North Koreans that our words meant something, that we would not tolerate the proliferation of nuclear technology.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.491 , Aug 30, 2011

2001: Counseled attacking Iraq after Afghanistan

In Sept. 2001, we considered confronting Iraq as well as the Taliban. "Dealing with Iraq would show a major commitment to antiterrorism," Don Rumsfeld said.

Colin cautioned against it. "We would lose the UN, the Islamic countries, and NATO. If we want to do Iraq, we should do it at a time of our choosing. But we should not do it now, because we don't have linkage to this event."

Dick Cheney understood the threat of Saddam Hussein and believed we had to address it. "But now is not a good time to do it," he said. "We would lose our momentum. Right now people have to choose between the US and the bad guys."

I welcomed the vigorous debate. Unless I received definitive evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 plot, I would work to resolve the Iraq problem diplomatically. I hoped unified pressure by the world might compel Saddam to meet his international obligations. The best way to show him we were serious was to succeed in Afghanistan.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.189-191 , Nov 9, 2010

1994: If we take out Saddam, Iraq breaks up into quagmire

The president did not--not--receive information about eh use of airplanes as missiles by suicide bombers
-- Ari Fleischer, September 11, 2001
"Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
-- Presidential Daily Brief, August 2001
"An explosive title on a non-explosive piece."
--Condoleezza Rice, commenting later
"All right, you've covered your ass now."
--George W. Bush, to the CIA briefer who warned him about an imminent Bin Laden strike, August 6, 2001
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 8-9 , Oct 1, 2008

2003: American troops will be greeted as liberators

"You're going to find Iraqis out cheering American troops."
-- Paul Wolfowitz, February 23, 2003
"There is no question but that they would be welcomed."
-- Donald Rumsfeld, February 20, 2003
"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
-- Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003
"Given the chance to throw off a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein, people will rejoice."
-- Ari Fleischer, March 21, 2003
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 47 , Oct 1, 2008

2005: Iraq is in the last throes of the insurgency

"I think we're on the brink of success."
_Gen. Richard B. Myers, Armed Services Committee, May 21, 2004
"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
-- Dick Cheney, July 20, 2005
"My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq."
--George W. Bush, August 17, 2005
"We're on the road to victory here."
-- George W. Bush, November 19. 2005
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 78-79 , Oct 1, 2008

2003: Iraq occupation will last weeks rather than months

"I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."
--Donald Rumsfeld, November 14, 2002
"It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months"
-- Donald Rumsfeld, February 7, 2003
"I think it will go relatively quickly. Weeks rather than months."
-- Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003
"No one is talking about occupying Iraq for five to ten years."
-- Richard Perle, March 9, 2003
"It could be that, absolutely."
-- George W. Bush, when asked of the United States would have troops in Iraq for the next ten years, January 11, 2008
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 40-41 , Oct 1, 2008

OpEd: Saw 9/11 as an opportunity to take out Saddam

During the lead-up to the war, like many Americans, I was uncertain about the necessity for war and the new doctrine of preemption that was being used to push us toward it. I wondered why we needed to move so fast toward military confrontation. But the president and policymakers had received almost universal accolades for their swift yet measured response to 9/11, especially the war in Afghanistan.

Now most of them believed the Iraq threat was serious, and that played a large role in my willingness to go along with, if not necessarily wholeheartedly embrace, the decision to confront Saddam militarily.

The campaign to sell the war didn't begin in earnest until the fall of 2002. But, as I would later come to learn, Pres. Bush had decided to confront the Iraqi regime several months earlier. Cheney & Rumsfeld saw 9/11 as an opportunity to go after Saddam Hussein, take out his regime, eliminate a threat, and make the Middle East more secure. And Bush agreed.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.126 , May 28, 2008

On 9/11, said no Saddam-al-Qaeda link; but yes by Dec. 2001

Vice President Cheney said on Meet the Press on Sept. 16, 2001, that "Saddam Hussein's bottled up at this point," and he acknowledged that there was no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11. But by late November, the president was not ruling out military action against Iraq and he was saying that Iraq would be held accountable if it was found to be developing WMD. When Cheney returned to Meet the Press in early December, he raised the possibility that Iraq had been involved in the 9/11 attacks by citing a report--later to be discounted--that a high-ranking Iraqi intelligence official had met with Mohamed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in April 2001. And Cheney now was saying unequivocally that Saddam "has aggressively pursued the development of additional weapons of mass destruction" since 1998.
Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.136-137 , May 28, 2008

2002: Saddam is a madman pursuing nuclear weapons

In the early months of 2002, the groundwork continued to be laid. By February, Condi Rice was citing the need for a serious response to a regime like Iraq that pursues WMD. Pushing the envelope of credibility, Cheney was asserting that Iraq had "a robust set of programs to develop their own weapons of mass destruction," that "we know [Saddam] has been actively and aggressively doing everything he can to enhance his capabilities," and raising Iraq's "links and ties" to terrorists. Cheney also suggested that if "aggressive action" were required, the pubic would support it.

Cheney pushed the envelope even more by bringing up the most fearful scenario of a madman seeking nuclear weapons. "This is a man of great evil, as the president said," Cheney said on CNN's Late Edition. "And he is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time, and we think that's cause for concern for us and for everybody in the region."

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.137 , May 28, 2008

PlameGate: discredit Niger report by revealing CIA operative

A July 14, 2003 column entitled "Mission to Niger" reported: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on WMD. Plame suggested sending Wilson to Niger to investigate the Italian report [about yellowcake sales]."

The point of mentioning Plame was to dispel once and for all the notion that Cheney had somehow arranged Wilson's mission to Niger. It also carried with it a whiff of nepotism.

But the charge of possible nepotism wasn't the reason the colum caused an explosion. Rather, it was the first time the name Valerie Plame had appeared in print along with the words "agency operative." By revealing Plame's status, the columnist, Robert Novak, inadvertently elevated the Niger controversy into a full-blown scandal.

Intentionally disclosing the name of a covert CIA officer to an individual not authorized to know it, such as a reporter, is a felony. Novak evidently didn't recognize the seriousness of publishing Plame's identity.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.173-174 , May 28, 2008

OpEd: VP's office knowingly misled public about PlameGate

The vice president's office sought to find out why Wilson was sent to Niger. When his wife's name was mentioned, it created a permissive environment for her identity to be disclosed. After columnist Bob Novak contacted Karl Rove, Rove went to Scooter Libby and let him know that Novak was writing about her role. Rove also disclosed he identity to Matt Cooper of Time Magazine.

As for what Rove and Libby told me when I was asked to publicly exonerate them, I can only conclude that they knowingly misled me. All objective observers agree that what I said on their behalf was false; they were in fact involved in anonymously disclosing her identity--or leaking it--to some reporters. And I stated publicly at the time that my comments were based on personal assurances given to me by Karl and Scooter. I said they had "assured me they were not involved" in the leaking of classified information. I would never had made that statement had known the facts above.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.307-308 , May 28, 2008

Adopted Kissinger’s “Victory is the only exit strategy”

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had a powerful, largely invisible influence on the foreign policy of the Bush Administration. “Of the outside people that I talk to,” Cheney told me, “I probably talk to Henry Kissinger more than anybody else.” The president also met privately with Kissinger every couple of months, making him the most frequent outside adviser to Bush on foreign affairs.

Kissinger supported the Iraq war, but increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out. He claimed that the US had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress. In The Washington Post on 8/12/05, Kissinger wrote, “ Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.” [A few months later], the administration issued a “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.” It was right out of the Kissinger playbook. The only meaningful exit strategy would be victory.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.406-8 , Oct 1, 2006

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

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

More "U.N.ery" just gives Saddam the chance to mess around

Bush speech to the UN was leading news all day, up to delivery at 3:30 NY time. They sent a draft through yesterday but though good in tone, it lacked the crucial point that they would go for another UN Security Council Resolution first. It just wasn't there. This was what Cheney/Rumsfeld wanted. They felt that more 'UN-ery' was just a way to give Saddam the chance to mess them around. But it was only at the last moment that we heard that he WAS going to include reference to UNSCR and in the end he delivered it in plural. That meant that others would be able hopefully to welcome it more than they would have done.

There were also persistent reports of problems re Cheney and Rumsfeld pushing for much more robust, less UN-related lines. Bush speech had gone down well and seemed to shift opinion around the place but they were arguing for such a tough UNSCR that it would not be acceptable to anyone.

Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.637-638 , Sep 12, 2002

OpEd: Says "democratization" but world fears Americanization

[British Prime Minister Tony Blair] was clearly trying to get Bush in a more doveish position, all the more necessary when we heard that Cheney would also be at Camp David. Blair felt that his job was to sell the case for the UN route to Cheney. I told the Bush advisers there was a lot of skepticism about motive, including people feeling it was about avenging Dad (Bush Sr). I also said the sole superpower status of the US raised anti-Americanism and they didn't understand that.

I said to Bush I felt they had to GET this anti-Americanism. A lot of it was jealousy and some of it resentment that they felt obliged to feel sympathy and solidarity post-September 11. But some of it was just fear of their power. When I said we were worried about some of the language they used, Cheney looked pissed off and said 'You mean we shouldn't talk about democracy?' I said not if what people take out of it is not a message about democracy but a message about Americanism. Bush seemed to get it.

Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.634-635 , Sep 7, 2002

OpEd: Polarized policy debate into Powell vs. Rumsfeld

[British Prime Minister Tony Blair] was anxious that we get the focus for the meeting at Crawford [Texas] off Iraq simply and onto the Middle East. How do we get the Americans to do more re the Middle East peace process? Blair had told Bush a year ago that he should get more involved now because he would have to and he would eventually be playing catch-up. Blair said his job was to give Bush a strategy, and to get the political processes up and running. It was clear that the US government was in a divided state. Cheney & Rumsfeld v. Powell, with Condi trying to get Bush engaged more, possibly with Powell.

Bush's Middle East [policy seemed] too consumed with the squabbles and struggles within the government, particularly Powell v. Cheney/Rumsfeld than in really thinking through a plan on the Middle East. Also, truth be told, Bush had a surer touch on domestic than international. I pointed out that Bush calling for the Palestinians to reject Arafat was the surest way to ensure a boost for Arafat.

Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.613&626 , Jun 25, 2002

Skeptical about Arafat's commitment and ability

The first big meeting was with [Dick] Cheney at Blair House [U.K. official guest house]. He was very dry, quite quietly spoken. If he was a Brit, you'd say total Tory. Cheney was clearly very skeptical about European defence. Oddly he manages to seem relaxed while at the same time emanating tension. He was very well informed about pretty much all the issues they covered. [Prime Minister Tony Blair] took the view that Saddam was a significant threat to the region. On the Middle East, Cheney was clear they would not rush in but get involved at the appropriate point. He was clearly skeptical about Arafat's commitment and ability. Blair likewise felt we may have reached the limit with Arafat. Nor could he see a way round the Jerusalem problem. On National Missile Defense, Cheney set out their concerns on Iran, Libya, Korea, Iraq. Blair said that if the capability existed to improve defence, we understood wanting to develop such a capability and that nuclear and WMD were clearly concerns.
Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.505 , Feb 23, 2001

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

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 their defense,“ Cheney said. Such Arab nations as Saudi Arabia have been ”loyal friends“ of the United States, Cheney said, adding that he understood how frustration with Congress led the Saudis to purchase vast quantities of weapons from Great Britain. ”That’s not in anybody’s interest,“ Cheney said. ”So I think we need to have a balanced policy that works to advance our interests with all parties, at least.“
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

Dick Cheney on Iraq War

2000: UN & CIA concluded that Saddam had WMDs

One of the first intelligence reports that George Bush & I received in late 2000 before we were sworn in was a far-ranging assessment of Iraq's activities concerning weapons of mass destruction. Although the report itself remains classified, the title does not. It was called "Iraq: Steadily Pursuing WMD Capabilities." Over the next 27 months there was a steady drumbeat of intelligence warnings about the threat posed by Saddam.

There were also by this time sixteen UN Security Council resolutions aimed at mitigating the danger arising from Iraq. Saddam repeatedly violated them, ignoring requirements related to WMD as well as those that had to do with terrorism. Resolution 687, passed in 1991, had declared that Iraq must not commit or support terrorism, or allow terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. But in 1993 the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) attempted to assassinate former Pres. George H. W. Bush, and throughout the 1990s, the IIS participated in terrorist attacks.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.367 , Aug 30, 2011

Post-9-11 no president could ignore reports of Saddam's WMDs

In the wake of 9/11, after the US had gone into Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom, CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "We have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some tha have been in Baghdad."

For a period extending back to the first Gulf War, the US intelligence community had been providing detailed assessments concerning Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop nuclear weapons, carry on biological and chemical weapons programs, and support terror. The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate was a continuation of earlier evaluations, and sobering as its judgments were, what the president and I read in our daily briefings was even "more assertive," as Director Tenet would later write.

After 9/11 no American president could responsibly ignore the steady stream of reporting we were getting about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. We had experienced an unprecedented attack on our homeland [killing] 3,000 Americans.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.367-368 , Aug 30, 2011

Even with benefit of hindsight Saddam was nexus of terrorism

The president and I were determined to do all we could to prevent another attack, and our resolution was made stronger by the awareness that a future attack could be even more devastating. The terrorists of 9/11 were armed with airplane tickets and box cutters. The next wave might bring chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

When we looked around the world in those first months after 9/11, there was no place more likely to be a nexus between terrorism and WMD capability than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. With the benefit of hindsight--even taking into account that some of the intelligence we received was wrong--that assessment still holds true. We could not ignore the threat or wish it away, hoping naively that the crumbling sanctions regime would contain Saddam. The security of our nation and of our friends and allies required that we act. And so we did.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.369 , Aug 30, 2011

1992: stay out of Baghdad; 2002: invade Baghdad

In 1992, Bush 41's secretary of defense, Dick Chaney, came to his commander in chief's defense: "I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We'd be running the country. I don't think you could have done all of that without significant additional US casualties. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the President made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."

Many conservatives may wish that Vice President Dick Cheney had paid closer attention to the warnings by then-secretary of defense Cheney, since several of the answers to the questions of what went wrong in Iraq can be found in Cheney's 1992 statement. It did not matter that most leaders in American and across the world believed Saddam had WMD. The fact that those weapons were never found crippled the Bush White House politically.

Source: The Last Best Hope, by Joe Scarborough, p. 47-9 , Oct 5, 2010

2003: Accused of falsifying Niger uranium to justify Iraq

In June 2003, the Washington Post reported that a CIA-directed mission to Niger had challenged the uranium claim used by the president in his State of the Union speech. On July 6, the Post's source, Joe Wilson, published an opinion piece "What I Didn't Find in Africa." It openly accused the administration of manipulating the intelligence about Iraq's nuclear weapons program to justify military action by exaggerating or hyping the threat. Wilson said that f "the information was ignored because it did no fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses."

Wilson added in an interview that he was "absolutely convinced" that the vice president's office had received "a very specific response" based on his trip.

The vice president's office disputed the notion that Cheney must have known about Wilson's findings. "The vice president's office did not request the mission to Niger. The vice president was not aware of Wilson's mission."

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.166-168 , May 28, 2008

OpEd: Used fear of terrorism to intensify war sloganeering

To the astonishment of those of us who lived through the agony of Vietnam, these lessons were ignored in the run-up to the Iraq War. The administration cherry-picked intelligence to fit its policy, used fear and the threat of terrorism to intensify the war sloganeering (particularly in speeches by the vice president), and dampened the possibility of dissent by denying that it had decided to go to war even though it had already made that decision before the debate even began.

It is shocking how little Congress or the media challenged the Bush administration. That is not too far-removed from the way the tragedy in Vietnam unfolded 40 years earlier. Unlike Vietnam, however--which did not represent vital strategic security interests for America--the war in Iraq and its consequences are playing out against a backdrop of the world's largest reserves of petroleum, and the contagion of a virulent strain of religious fanaticism that threatens to inflame the entire Middle East.

Source: Our Next Chapter, by Chuck Hagel, p. 38 , Mar 25, 2008

Our new strategy in Iraq has succeeded by careful planning

It’s been a year since Pres. Bush’s new counterinsurgency strategy, backed up by a surge in American forces, to secure that country and to set the conditions for political reconciliation. Now we can see the effects: The new strategy is succeeding, the surge is working, the forces of freedom are winning. Our new strategy in Iraq has succeeded by careful planning, and by close attention to changing conditions on the battlefield. The same will be true of any drawdown of troops.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Aug.’02: “No doubt” that Saddam had WMD (later proven wrong)

In the fall of 2002, Bush made it clear that war with Iraq was necessary and inevitable [in a conversation with CIA chief George Tenet]. Tenet said he found that there was a part of Bush that might still be deliberating while some others under him, like Cheney and Wolfowitz, had absolutely decided that war was coming.

Had Cheney told Bush, “Yes, you’ve got to do it?” Tenet had never been in the room when that happened, but he believed Cheney was privately pressuring Bush, arguing strongly for was as the only solution to the Saddam Hussein problem.

On Aug. 26, Cheney said in a public speech, “There is no doubt that Saddam now has WMD. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

In Jan. 2003, a White House spokesperson said, “We know for a fact that there are weapons there.” On Feb. 8, Bush said, “Saddam Hussein recently authorized the use of chemical weapons--the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.”

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 89-92&139 , Oct 1, 2006

Pushed Saddam-al Qaeda connection but CIA & Powell disagreed

In Feb. 2003, Cheney was seized with what he thought was a connection between Saddam & al Qaeda, but the CIA disagreed. CIA chief George Tenet & his people had gone over the intelligence as completely as they could. There was no proof, Tenet said plainly True, the Saddam regime had given sanctuary to a Jordanian with al Qaeda ties. But there was no evidence to show that Saddam was involved. “I can’t take you to authority, direction & control,” Tenet said, the high standard that had to be met to make a case for a Saddam-al Qaeda link.

Powell was to make the WMD intelligence case for war to the UN. Cheney wanted him to look at the Saddam-al Qaeda link. Powell thought the link didn’t exist and he refused to include it in his speech.

After Powell’s UN speech, Cheney wanted to give his own speech making the charge [that Powell had omitted]. Tenet was upset. If Cheney gives the speech, Tenet told Bush, the CIA cannot and will not stand behind it. Bush backed Tenet and told Cheney not to give the speech.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.120&135 , Oct 1, 2006

Mar.’03: “Greeted as liberators”; no need for 100,000 troops

[In Feb. 2003, Rumsfeld ordered that the author of the ‘Future of Iraq’ study, which analyzed the post-war risks, be taken] “off the Pentagon team. I’ve gotten this request from such a high level that I can’t turn it down,” Rumsfeld said. That could only mean Bush or conceivably Cheney.

The opposition to the study’s author was described as coming from “a group of about five people” in Cheney’s office--“a cabal”, one army colonel reported. Another Pentagon officer said, “it was the vice president” [who suppressed the dissenting discussion].

Three days before the start of the war, on March 16 2003, Cheney predicted, “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” The interviewer said that Congressional testimony indicated that the post-war phase would likely require more troops. “To suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, I don’t think that is accurate. I think that’s an overstatement,” Cheney said.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.127-128&151 , Oct 1, 2006

Post-9-11 philosophy: two-generation war starts with Iraq

On 11/29/2001, [a DOD appointed "think tank" group] distilled their thoughts into a 7-page document, called "Delta of terrorism." [It summarized that] "a war was going on within Islam--it was a deep problem, & 9/11 was not an isolated action that called for policing and crime fighting." Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers came from, were the key, but the problems there are intractable. Iran is more important. But Saddam Hussein was different, weaker, more vulnerable. A confrontation with Saddam was inevitable. "We agreed that Saddam would have to leave the scene before the problem would be addressed." That was the only way to transform the region.

Copies of the memo, straight from the neoconservative playbook, pleased Cheney, and it had a strong impact on President Bush, causing him to focus on the "malignancy" of the Middle East. Rice found it "very, very persuasive." Summarizing their conclusions, DOD analysts said, "We're facing a 2-generation war. And start with Iraq."

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 84-5 , Oct 1, 2006

OpEd: Chose Iraq as first target & permanent military base

Some neocons now dominate the highest councils of government, seem determined to exert American dominance throughout the world, and approve or preemptive war as an acceptable avenue to reach this imperialistic goal. 8 years before he became vice president, Richard Cheney spelled out this premise in his "Defense Strategy for the 1990s." Either before or soon after 9/11, he and his close associates chose Iraq as the 1st major target, apparently to remove a threat to Israel and to have Iraq serve as our permanent military, economic, and political base in the Middle East.

This dependence on military force to expand America's influence and other recent deviations from traditional values have dramatically reduced the attractiveness of our political, cultural, and religious offerings to the world.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.100 , Sep 26, 2006

OpEd: repeatedly made false statements to incite Iraq War

It became apparent soon after the presidential election in 2000 that some of our new political leaders were determined to attack Iraq. With false and distorted claims after 9/11, they misled the US Congress and the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein had somehow been responsible for the dastardly attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and that Iraq was developing WMDs and posed a direct threat to the security of America.

Although the deceptiveness of these statements was later revealed, the die was cast, and most of our trusting citizens were supportive of the war. Exaggerated claims of catastrophe from nonexistent weapons of mass destruction kept the fears alive, with Cheney repeatedly making false statement, such as, "Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day of war."

There is little wonder that, at least for a few months, fearful American citizens and members of Congress supported the unnecessary war.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.150-151 , Sep 26, 2006

2001: Success in Iraq would be a blow to 9/11 terrorists

Long after the war started, the right-wing media started bleating that the Bush administration had never actually claimed that Iraq and 9/11 were linked. This isn't true. Cheney had told a credulous Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" that it was "pretty well confirmed" that Mohammad Atta, 9/11's lead hijacker, "did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack." Cheney told a wide-eyed Russert what success in Iraq would mean: "We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 47-48 , Oct 25, 2005

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 by FactCheck 2004 , 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 by FactCheck 2004 , 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 by FactCheck 2004 , 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

Questioned on link between 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

1991: None in Bush administration wanted to push to Baghdad

[It is an unsubstantiated myth that] more hawkish officials favored a move on the Iraqi capital but were blocked by Powell. At the time of the Gulf War no one in any senior position in the Bush administration proposed going to Baghdad. Powell was not in favor of doing so, but neither were Bush and Scowcroft at the White House, nor Cheney.

All these officials reflected the considerable caution and conservatism of American foreign policy during that era: no one was seeking to remake the political institutions of the Middle East. Merely dispatching American troops to reverse Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was considered as adventurous as anyone wanted to be. At the time marching on Baghdad was thought to be militarily risky and politically unwise since it would go beyond the original war aim of ousting Iraq from Kuwait.

Above all, going to Baghdad was also considered unnecessary, since most officials in Washington believed, erroneously, that Saddam Hussein would be overthrown after losing the war.

Source: Rise of the Vulcans, by James Mann, p.190 , Sep 7, 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 on 2004 election , 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

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

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

Extend international order friendly to our security.

Cheney signed Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles

Conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests? Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

  1. we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
  2. we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
  3. we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
  4. we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-WP on Jun 3, 1997

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