Dick Cheney on Homeland Security

Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush


OpEd: Frustrated when definitions of torture changed

I went to Attorney General Ashcroft and, in a private meeting, told him why I believed it made sense to take the dramatic step of withdrawing the Justice Department's earlier opinion on the legality of torture. He agreed. We both recognized that it would leave CIA personal exposed, in a sense, because they had done rough stuff in reliance on a legal opinion that was now withdrawn. The interrogators weren't lawyers; they had a right to rely on the advice of government counsel.

I understood why people like by Vice President Cheney were frustrated when the Department of Justice changed its legal opinions. But much of the responsibility for the original flawed legal work could be laid at the feet of policymakers like the vice president--powerful leaders who were absolutely certain what needed to be done and who demanded quick answers from a tiny group of lawyers. Their actions guaranteed the very problem we were forced to deal with down the road.

Source: A Higher Loyalty, p.106, by James Comey , Apr 17, 2018

OpEd: Pressured DOJ to declare NSA domestic spying legal

Q: You mentioned [in your book "A Higher Loyalty"] that Vice President Cheney at one point said, "People are going to die because of what you're doing right now."

COMEY: I was the #2 person at the Justice Department then, the deputy attorney general. And we were in a dispute with the White House about whether there was a lawful basis for surveillance activities that the president had authorized the NSA to engage in [domestically]. We had concluded--and I agreed--that there wasn't a lawful basis for a big part of these activities. Vice President Cheney presided at a meeting to pressure me to change my view. He looked me in the eye and said, "Thousands of people are going to die because of what you're doing." What he meant was, "Because you are making us stop this surveillance program." I responded, "I have to say what we find lawful. So I can't change my view." I felt like I was going to be crushed like a grape, frankly. But in a way, there was no other way I could act. The law was clear.

Source: ABC-TV Q&A: Jim Comey on Higher Loyalty & impeaching Trump , Apr 15, 2018

OpEd: torture detainees to prove Al-Qaida-Saddam connection

The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable--particularly the testimony in the Senate Armed Services Committee report on Cheney-Rumsfeld desperation to find nonexistent links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, links that were later concocted out of thin air as justification for the invasion. A former senior intelligence officer familiar with the interrogation issue: "The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaeda and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime. [Cheney and Rumsfeld] demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaeda-Iraq collaboration. 'There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people to push harder.'"
Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p.259 , Jun 1, 2010

OpEd: Guantanamo torture creates new terrorists

There is mounting evidence that Cheney-Rumsfeld torture created terrorists even more directly. One carefully studied case is that of Abdallah al-Ajmi, who was locked up in Guantanamo on the charge of "engaging in two three fire fights with the Northern Alliance." He had come to Afghanistan after having failed to reach Chechnya to fight against the Russian invasion. After four years of brutal treatment in Guantanamo, he was returned to Kuwait. He later found his way to Iraq, and in March 2008 drove a bomb-laden truck into an Iraqi military compound, killing himself and 13 soldiers--"the single most heinous act of violence committed by a former Guantanamo detainee," the Washington Post reports, the direct result of his abusicve imprisonment,his Washington lawyer concludes.
Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p.266 , Jun 1, 2010

Disagreed on Iraq & interrogation, bur endorsed McCain

On Nov. 1, McCain received the most unwanted endorsement in the universe: that of Dick Cheney. There was no love lost between Cheney & McCain, who'd clashed bitterly over the conduct of the war in Iraq, and interrogation techniques. When Cheney's friends learned about the endorsement, they laughed. That wasn't Cheney saluting McCain, they thought. It was him flipping the senator the bird.

McCain noted that the VP had said he was "delighted" to support to GOP nominee.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.422-424 , Jan 11, 2010

1980s: Supported squadron of 132 B-2 stealth bombers

At anywhere from $1 to $2 billion per plane, the B-2 stealth bomber seemed a colossal misuse of taxpayer monies--and a misguided defense strategy, to boot.

And we weren't talking about just one B-2. Initially, there was to be a squadron of 132 of these bombers, a number that was whittled down to 75 & eventually to 20, although that figure remained open for discussion.

At one point, Cheney made a deal with me to freeze the number of planes on order at 20, in exchange for my agreeing to back down in my fight, which [B-2 supporters] could then take as my grudging support. We even shook hands on it, and yet a year or so later Cheney was out there thumping for 40. I went onto the House floor and accused him of breaking his word, and to this day he despise me for it, but I felt it was the right thing to do, to call him out in this public way.

For my money, which I tended to see as the American taxpayer's money, I wanted to cancel the plan and redirect some of those funds to develop standoff weapons.

Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p. 93-94 , May 23, 2007

Wolfowitz Doctrine disowned by Bush-I became Bush-II policy

In 1992, "Defense Planning Guidance" had been prepared by Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, for Secretary Richard Cheney. The Wolfowitz memo called for permanent US military presence on 6 continents. Containment and deterrence to defend the West were to yield to a new offensive strategy to "establish and protect a new order."

Under the Wolfowitz Doctrine, US military supremacy was to remain sufficiently dominant to deter all "potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

Reaction was sharp. Sen. Joe Biden denounced the memo as the blueprints for "a Pax Americana." Sen. Edward Kennedy said the Pentagon plans "appear to be aimed primarily at finding new ways to justify Cold War levels of military spending." Disowned by the Bush I White House, the memo was seemingly forgotten. But in Sep. 2002, with Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Libby restored to power, the Wolfowitz memo reappeared in an official document released by the White House, titled The National Security Strategy.

Source: Where the Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 42-44 , Aug 12, 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

Pro-Israel lobby's influence sometimes is overstated

On the military campaign [planning for Afghanistan], Cheney was bullish. [British Secretary of State Jack Straw] said UK support was strong but could we hold the coalition together if this thing went on longer than expected? [Cheney] said he thought so.

On the Middle East, Straw asked how difficult it was having such a strong pro-Israel lobby. Cheney said its influence is sometimes overstated and that at the moment they were pretty subdued. Jack said [Israeli leader] Sharon was doing things which were dangerous and could not be part of our strategy. I had always assumed that Cheney would be more open and forthcoming when he was in charge of meetings rather than, as when Bush was there, clearly comfortable playing 2nd fiddle. But he was not one to speak too much for the sake of it. He had cold, slightly menacing body language, listened very intently without giving much away, and usually paused before giving a thought-through answer.

Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.584 , Oct 24, 2001

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 GWOT

Effective nonproliferation policy holds rogues accountable

In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush put in place an effective nonproliferation policy that yielded results. We dedicated ourselves to preventing terrorists and terror-sponsoring states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. When the North Koreans tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006, President Bush warned that we would hold them fully accountable for the consequences of any proliferation, especially to states like Syria and Iran. Six months later, when we discovered they were proliferating to Syria, we should have held them accountable and did not. The lesson for other rogue nations might unfortunately be that they need not worry about threats from America.
Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.491-492 , Aug 30, 2011

The sixteen words were true; Saddam sought Niger uranium

[In 2003, we discussed], whether we should apologize for the inclusion of "the sixteen words" in the president's State of the Union speech. [""The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."]. I strongly opposed the idea. The sixteen words were true.

I was under the impression that the president had decided against a public apology, and was therefore surprised a few days later when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told the White House press pool, "We wouldn't have put it in the speech if we had known what we know now." The result was the conflagration I had predicted. Rice realized sometime later that she had made a major mistake by issuing a public apology. She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk, and tearfully admitted I had been right. Unfortunately, the damage was done.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.404-405 , Aug 30, 2011

Spent 9-11 in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center

A Special Agent burst through the door. "Mr. Vice President, we've got to leave now." Before I could reply he moved behind my desk, put one hand on my belt and another on my shoulder, and propelled me out of my office. He rushed me through narrow West Wing hallways and down a stairway toward the "PEOC," the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, located underneath the White House.

We stopped at the bottom of the stairs in a tunnel outside the PEOC. I watched as Secret Service agents positioned themselves at the top, middle, and bottom of the staircase, creating layers of defense in case the White House itself should be invaded. The Agent had evacuated me from my office, he said, because he'd gotten word over his radio that "an inbound unidentified aircraft was headed for 'Crown,'" code name for the White House. Within moments another report came in. An agent said, "the plane headed for us just hit the Pentagon." Now I knew for certain that Washington as well as NY was under attack.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p. 1 , Aug 30, 2011

Recommended Bush stay away from DC during 9-11

[During 9-11], President Bush, who was at an elementary school in Florida, had to stay away. I turned to one of the agents in the tunnel [under the White House, upon hearing that the Pentagon had been hit]. "Get me the president." He picked up the handset of a phone on the wall to patch through a call.

This was the second call I had made to President Bush since hijacked airliners flew into the World Trade towers, and he'd been trying to reach me as well. A communications glitch had cut us off earlier, and as I waited to talk to him now, I watched images of the burning towers on an old television set that had been set up in the tunnel. When the president came on the line, I told him that the Pentagon had been hit and urged him to stay away from Washington. The city was under attack, and the White House was a target. I understood that he didn't want to appear to be on the run, but he shouldn't be here until we knew more about what was going on.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p. 2 , Aug 30, 2011

9-11: Authorized shootdown of non-responsive civilian planes

In those first hours we were living in the fog of war. We heard there was an unidentified, nonresponsive plane headed for Camp David and another headed for Crawford, Texas; we also received word of a threat against Air Force One.

At about 10:15, a plane, believed hijacked, was 80 miles out and headed for DC. [An aide] asked me whether our combat air patrol had authority to engage the aircraft. Did our fighter pilots have authority, in other words, to shoot down an American commercial airliner believed to have been hijacked? "Yes," I said without hesitation. A moment later he was back. "It's 60 miles out. Do they have authorization to engage?" Again, yes.

There could have been no other answer. As the last hour had made brutally clear, once a plane was hijacked it was a weapon in the hands of the enemy. In one of our earlier calls, the president approved my recommendation that the combat air patrol be authorized to fire on a civilian airliner if it had been hijacked and would not divert.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p. 3 , Aug 30, 2011

6 years after 9/11, the war on terror is still real

Six and a half years after 9/11, the war on terror is still real, that it won’t be won on the defensive, and that we have to proceed on many fronts at the same time. For those of us who work in offices and sit at desks in Washington, the sacrifices required are pretty small compared to those of Americans serving in the Iraqi desert, or in the mountains of Afghanistan, or the public servants who work day and night, with little margin for error, to detect a secret enemy before it’s too late.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

2004: Wrong choice for president & we'll get hit again

As Dick Cheney had put it more succinctly 7-1/2 weeks earlier:

"It's absolutely essential that 8 weeks from today, on November 2, we make the right choice, because 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 US, and that we'll fall back into the pre-0/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we are not really at war."

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 27 , Oct 25, 2005

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 coverage , 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

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 coverage , 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

Dick Cheney on Torture

2002: CIA acted lawfully with enhanced interrogation

[In 2002] the CIA approached the White House about what they might do to go further in interrogating high-value detainees. The CIA developed a list of enhanced interrogation techniques that were based on the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Program used to prepare our military in case they should be captured. Before using the techniques on any terrorists, the CIA wanted to determine that they complied with the law, including international treaty obligations such as the UN Convention Against Torture. Out of that review process, which took several months, came legal opinions advising that the techniques were lawful. The program was approved by the president & the NSC.

Despite the invaluable intelligence we were obtaining through the program of enhanced interrogation, in 2005 there was a move on Capitol Hill, led by Sen. John McCain & Lindsey Graham, to end it and require that all US government interrogations be conducted under the rules of the US Army Field Manual.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.358-359 , Aug 30, 2011

2002: Enhanced interrogation techniques worked

In March 2002, Pakistani forces raided an al Qaeda safe house in Pakistan, and captured a terrorist named Abu Zubaydah. Zubaydah provided useful information very early on, disclosing that the mastermind behind 9/11 had been Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or KSM But then he stopped answering questions, and the CIA interrogated him with enhanced interrogation techniques.

The techniques worked. Zubaydah gave up information about Ramzi bin al Shibh, who had assisted the 9/11 hijackers. Information from Zubaydah and bin al Shibh led in turn to the capture of KSM, who after being questioned with enhanced techniques became a fount of information. A CIA report, declassified at my request, notes that KSM was the "preeminent source on al-Qa'ida." According to the 2004 report: "Debriefings since his detention have shed light on the plots, capabilities, the identity and location of al Qa'ida operatives and affiliated terrorist organizations and networks."

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.357-358 , Aug 30, 2011

Dunking terrorists ‘no brainer’ not endorsing waterboarding

Dick Cheney came under fire for saying it’s “a no-brainer for me” when asked if “a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives.” The White House Press Secretary said Cheney was not endorsing a torture technique called “water boarding” in which detainees suffer simulated drowning. “[Cheney] is not going to be talking about water boarding. Never would, never does, never will,” the Press Secretary said. “You think Dick Cheney’s going to slip up on something like this? No, come on.”
Source: www.sitnews.us, Week in Review , Oct 28, 2006

Don't prohibit US military forces from degrading detainees

Republican senators have proposed legislation that would prohibit the US military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees, or from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and would set uniform standards for interrogating anyone detained by the Defense Department. These powerful Republican senators have quoted comments from 15 top-ranking military officers: "The abuse of prisoners hurts America's cause in the war on terror, endangers US service members who might be captured by the enemy, and is anathema to the values Americans have held dear for generations."

Representing the Bush administration, Vice President Cheney has made strenuous efforts to block the legislation, and the White House has warned that the $442 billion defense bill would be vetoed, claiming that it "would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attacks and bring terrorists to justice."

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.131-132 , Sep 26, 2006

Increase defense spending to meet global responsibilities.

Cheney signed Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles

American defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century. We aim to change this.

We are living off the capital--both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements--built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges.

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;

Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-HS on Jun 3, 1997

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